Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act

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Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act

FAQs about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act and how it can help enforce a Court Order regarding military retirement pay, child support or alimony owed by a service member.
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How can I enforce a Court Order regarding military retirement pay, child support or alimony owed by a service member?

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that authorizes state courts to distribute military retired pay to a former spouse of a service member as part of a divorce decree.  It also provides a way to enforce state court orders related to distributions of military retirement pay, child support or alimony through the Department of Defense.

Find an official summary of the Act's protections here.
 

What is the maximum amount that can be enforced?

The maximum that can be paid to a former spouse under the USFSPA is fifty percent (50%) of a member's disposable retired pay. In cases where there are payments both under the USFSPA and pursuant to a garnishment for child support or alimony under 42 U.S.C. 659, the total amount payable cannot exceed sixty-five percent (65%) of the member's disposable retired pay. The right to payments under the USFSPA terminates upon the death of the member or former spouse, unless the applicable court order provides that the payments terminate earlier.
 

How do I apply?

In order to apply for payments under the USFSPA, a completed application form (DD Form 2293) signed by a former spouse together with a certified copy of the applicable court order certified by the clerk of court within 90 days immediately preceding its service on this Center should be served either by facsimile or by mail, upon the:

Defense FAS Garnishment Law Directorate
PO Box 998002
Cleveland Ohio 44199-8002
Toll Free Customer Service: (888) DFAS411
Toll Free Fax Line: (877) 622-5930

The application form should state which awards the former spouse is seeking to enforce under USFSPA (i.e., alimony, child support, and/or division of retired pay as property). If the application does not contain this information, then only awards of retired pay, as property will be enforced under the USFSPA. A former spouse should also indicate the priority of the awards to be enforced in case there is not sufficient disposable retired pay to cover multiple awards.

The court order should contain sufficient information for us to determine whether the SSCRA, and the USFSPA's jurisdictional and 10/10 requirements (if applicable), have been met. If we cannot determine the parties' marriage date from the court order, then the former spouse must submit a photocopy of their marriage certificate. If the former spouse is requesting child support, and the court order does not contain the birth dates of the children, the former spouse must provide photocopies of their birth certificates.

Be sure to include all of the following with your application:

  • DD2293 application form, completed and signed
  • Certified copy of Decree of Divorce, Dissolution, Annulment or Legal Separation
  • Marriage Certificate, if the marriage date is not included in the order
  • Birth dates of children included, or copy(s) of birth certificates if applying for child support
  • If the court order does not include the entitlement award, please include the document that has it, such as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Separation Agreement
  • Completed Direct Deposit Form
  • Completed IRS W4-P
     

When will payments begin?

If the requirements of the USFSPA have been met, payments to a former spouse must begin no later than 90 days after the date of effective service of a complete application. If the member has not yet retired at the time the former spouse submits his or her application, payments must begin no later than 90 days after the date on which the member first becomes entitled to receive retired pay.

Learn more about the legal issues in a military divorce

Need help? EX-POSE provides help to military spouses with USFSPA claims.

 

Updated January 2018, July 2020