What are USFSPA authorized deductions under military family law?

| Dec 19, 2019 | Firm News, Military Family Law |

For military members and former military members in Mississippi, family law matters will differ from what how they are addressed for civilians. There are certain rules regarding how much a military member or a retired military member will be required to pay the former spouse as part of the divorce settlement and it is dictated by their retirement pay amount.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) sets limits on how much of a retired service member’s disposable income can be paid to the former spouse. There are also authorized deductions. Understanding these rules is imperative in military divorce as is having legal assistance from a law firm experienced in military family cases.

A service member will not be required to pay more than half of the disposable retired pay to a former spouse. When there is a case in which it falls under USFSPA and there is garnishment for alimony or child support, it cannot go beyond 65% of the disposable earnings for garnishment. When calculating the disposable retired pay, it is the pay the former service member receives with the authorized deductions subtracted from that amount.

For parties that ended their marriage or legally separated on or after February 3, 1991, the authorized deductions are the following: money owed to the U.S. for overpayments of what the retiree was supposed to receive and recoupments; retired pay that was forfeited because of a court-martial; retired pay that was waived so the service member could be compensated for federal civilian employment (Title 5) or Department of Veterans Affairs (Title 38); retirement pay if it was because the member retired or separated because of physical disability and payments of premiums after the service member created a Survivor Benefit Plan as an annuity to the former spouse.

A common concern when there is a military divorce is how much the former service member will be obligated to pay and how much the former spouse can receive. USFSPA addresses this. It might seem complicated and confusing, especially during the emotional time in which people are navigating divorce issues. Having legal representation from a law firm experienced in military family law might be helpful to deal with the case.