The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act – An overview

On Behalf of | May 1, 2020 | High-Asset Divorce |

When married to military service members, people have access to the various benefits afforded to their spouses. The state’s property division laws may entitle divorcing spouses to one-half of the assets acquired during their marriages in the event of a divorce. However, this may present issues relating to the benefits obtained due to the military personnel’s service.

Through the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, divorced military spouses may have entitlement to certain pay and benefits.

Entitlement to receive disposable military retired pay

According to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the USFSPA allows state courts to distribute military retirement pay to the former spouses of service members. To receive such pay, however, the court must have awarded a portion in the final divorce order. In addition to a court order granting a portion of the pay, former spouses must meet the 10/10 rule. The rule requires that the marriage lasted at least 10 years and that during the marriage, the military personnel spouse performed 10 years of credible service toward his or her retirement eligibility.

Entitlement to medical care, exchange and commissary benefits

According to, former spouses may also continue to receive some health care, exchange and commissary benefits through the USFSPA. Those who meet the 20/20/20 requirement may have eligibility to continued access to the military’s health insurance, care at military treatment facilities, and exchange and commissary privileges. The 20/20/20 requirement necessitates that the service member has at least 20 years of credible service, which overlaps by at least 20 years with a marriage lasting 20 years or more.