USFSPA

AcronymDefinition
USFSPAUniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act
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The USFSPA limits the amount of the service member's retirement pay that can be payable to a former spouse to 50% of disposable military retirement pay.
The USFSPA does not require that a former spouse be given a portion of a service member's disposable retirement pay.
The USFSPA became the subject of litigation in 2004 when a group of fifty-eight divorced retired veterans and a nonprofit company filed suit in Virginia to challenge the constitutionality of certain portions of the Act.
This Article examines this problem, along with the equal protection argument from Adkins, through the lens of the gender assumptions behind the legislative history of the USFSPA. The Article further presents an economic analysis of the Act's policy goals.
The divorce decree required Proctor at retirement to pay Holdman 25% of his naval retirement pay under the USFSPA. When Proctor retired from the Navy in 2000, he did not make any payments to Holdman; however, he was compelled under a 2001 court order to do so.
Under the USFSPA, the retirement payments would stop upon the death of either Proctor or Holdman, whichever occurred first, so Proctor was not liable for any payments after Holdman's death.
The USFSPA leaves it up to each state to decide if military retirement is marital community property or not.
(17) The court stated that "[m]any jurisdictions have recognized that the USFSPA does not limit the equitable authority of a state court to grant relief" (18) when a member converts his military retired pay to disability pay.
In the service member's appeal, he argued that the Redux bonus did not constitute "disposable retired pay" under federal law (the USFSPA), but rather that it constituted post-separation income, and that a state court thus could not divide it.
Issues regarding courts' treatment of certain types of pay as divisible under the USFSPA remain state-specific.
When using this guide, note that although McCarty overruled some then-existing state case law, many of these cases were reinstated after the USFSPA became effective.
To combat this misconception, trial counsel may inform the court of the transitional compensation for abused dependents and the USFSPA by asking the judge to take judicial notice of these provisions.