What Is the USFSPA?

Posted on in Military Divorce

USFSPA, Illinois military divorce attorneyMilitary members marry, divorce, and deal with family just like everyone else. However, the nature of military service means that the law must be adapted to serve their unique needs at times. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is a good example of this adaptivity that can help keep military service members and their former spouses in good shape even after a divorce.

History of the Law

The USFSPA sets out regulations which must be followed by civilian courts in awarding military retirement pay as an asset in the division of a marital estate. It does not give a former spouse an automatic share in retirement pay; it merely grants the court the right to see such pay as an asset. The Act also allows civilian courts to enforce orders for child or spousal support against active or retired military service members.


military, DuPage County divorce attorneyMany U.S. citizens choose military careers, to make a difference or to get out and see the world. However, this does affect some aspects of civilian life, including marriage and divorce—the latter in particular, especially when children and issues of parenting time are involved. Going through a divorce from a military servicemember, especially if they are on active duty at the time of proceedings, can be a complex process. It can be extremely advantageous to have knowledgeable legal representation on your side.

Timing Matters

While most civilians can simply be brought to court anytime papers are served on them, military personnel are more likely to in different situations, especially if they are serving actively abroad. It is generally possible to serve military personnel with divorce papers or any other kind of legal document, but because they likely may not be able to present themselves physically within the relevant jurisdiction, they are afforded certain legal protections that must be honored. The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) permits that even with service being appropriate in all respects, a hearing on the matter may be suspended for up to the servicemember’s entire tour of duty plus 60 days.


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