What are the salient features of USFSPA?

For purposes of a divorce settlement, the act allows state courts to treat retired pay as property, not income.

USFSPA does not preclude the award of other support from retired pay. The division of retired pay may be apart from any alimony or child support. Since it is property, the pay continues even after the remarriage of the former nonmilitary spouse.

It permits a former spouse to receive up to 50 percent of military member’s retirement pay directly from the military finance center, based on the number of years married concurrent with military service.

Significantly, there is no need for the nonmilitary spouse to prove need or a contribution to the military member career, and there is no time limit for a former spouse to make a claim against the retired pay of a former military member. Moreover, the computation of retired pay is made at the time of retirement, not the divorce.

USFSPA applies to all military divorces subsequent to June 25, 1981. It concerns the division of disposable retired pay.

Disposable retired pay is the monthly pay of retired servicemember, excluding disability pay, debt repayments, fines and forfeitures and Survivor Benefit premiums.