Super Lawyers
The top Attorneys in Virginia and
the Washington, D.C. metropolitan
area, only 5% of the attorneys
in the state are named in SuperLawyers
ATA NBTA | The National Board of Trial Advocacy Association of Trial Lawyers of America Virginia Trial Lawyers Association National Asociation of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent | NADC

What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act?

In 1981, the United States passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, Title 10, United States Code, Section 1408, also known as the USFSPA, to award former spouses of military members retirement pay in the event of a divorce. While the act does not require states to divide retirement earnings as community property or a marital asset, it requires state courts to divide the property accordingly. This amount may run as high as 50 percent of the military member's disposable income.

In addition, the USFSPA also addresses the enforcement of child support and alimony for the ex-spouse. To apply for direct payments, an ex-spouse must complete and submit the Former Spouses Payments from Retirement Pay form DD Form 2293 as well as current court ordered award documents, certified by the clerk of court. If eligible, the military spouse must begin making payments within 90 days of the filing. If the military member wishes to appeal the claim, he or she must do so within 30 days of receiving the initial claim.

Under Title 42 of the United States Code Section 659, an ex-spouse may also file an income withholding order for alimony, child support, and alimony and child support arrears orders. If paying both 42 U.S.C. and USFSPA, a spouse may receive up to 65 percent of the military member's disposable income.

Understanding the intricacies and properly filing the necessary paperwork for the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act during a military divorce may feel overwhelming. To make certain everything is properly submitted, it may be wise to seek assistance from an attorney familiar with military family divorces.

Source:, "Frequently Asked Questions", Accessed July 13, 2015.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

DISCLAIMER: This website is designed to provide only general information; nothing contained herein constitutes legal advice nor is it an offer of legal representation. Use of this website is not intended in any way to create or convey the impression that such use of the website by any person, organization, or entity of any nature and/or kind constitutes any attorney-client relationship whatsoever and any information provided in this website shall not constitute legal advice. The use of any electronic communication available through this website with the Law Office of Richard L. Downey or any person associated with this website shall not constitute attorney-client relationship nor will any communication received by the Law Office of Richard L. Downey constitute an attorney-client communication. The Law Office of Richard L. Downey cannot make any guarantees as to the accuracy or currency of any information contained in or created in this website or the use of any link to another website contained in this website. The information that you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice concerning your own particular situation.

*The National Board of Trial Advocacy is accredited by the American Bar Association. Currently there is no procedure in the Commonwealth of Virginia for approving certifying organizations.