Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (the “USFSPA”), state courts are only allowed to divide a servicemember’s “disposable retired pay,” not the member’s gross retired pay, and not any disability pay the member receives, in military divorce cases. The USFSPA defines “disposable retired pay” as gross retired pay minus:
- Recoupments or repayments to the federal government,
- Deductions from retired pay for court-martial fines or forfeitures,
- Disability pay benefits, and
- Survivor Benefit Plan premiums.
The exclusion of disability benefits from the definition of disposable retired pay means that the former spouse of a servicemember may lose out on hundreds or thousands of dollars per month that he or she might otherwise have received in a division of the member’s disposable retired pay. To learn more about how the servicemember can use this to his or her advantage in a military divorce case, and about how the former spouse can protect himself or herself against it, click here.
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