Supporting a former spouse after the end of a marriage is a very common scenario among recent divorcees. Family law has statutes that dictate a fair amount of alimony that a former spouse can receive after a divorce. However, different states, and certain military positions, may have existing laws that can cause some contention among recent military divorcees.
As readers in Pensacola may have heard, certain advocacy groups are campaigning for a revision of an existing military divorce law called the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. The USFSPA was passed by congress in 1982 and granted states the ability to divide non-disability military retirement pay as property in a divorce. Under current law, a divorcee of a military service member can receive up to 50 percent of the retirement pay for the duration that it was accrued during their marriage.
Detractors of the law allege that they should not be forced to give their ex-spouses half of their retirement benefits in perpetuity. However, supporters of the law feel that they should be entitled to the benefits due to the sacrifices that they have made in their personal lives due to their marriages to military personnel. Some criticism has been voiced that the law passed in 1982 no longer applies to the modern military couple, as military spouses are now able to learn skills during their marriages that will enable them to rejoin the workforce.
Military spouses in Florida should keep themselves educated with any development associated with the USFSPA. Unfortunately, marriages do sometimes end, and when that happens, it is important that all parties involved are aware of their legal rights. Therefore, any important changes to existing laws that dictate alimony and other elements of divorce should be kept in mind.
Source: Newsmax, “Military Divorcees Aim to End Lifetime Alimony Rules,” David Yonkman, Feb. 18, 2013