Florida military divorce discussions are taking a look at the issue of support vs property. We addressed this in our Mississippi military divorce discussion. The core foundation of many opinions expressed concerning the division of retired pay are a result of whether one views the division of retired pay as alimony support or a division of property.
On October 19, 2012, Chapter 554 of the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), Eglin AFB, Florida commented on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) in their newsletter.
“One of the chief complaints with USFSPA is that garnishment of military retirement pay does not terminate if the former spouse remarries. It is clearly inequitable for military members and they are the only US citizens who have a separate divorce law which specifically targets them. AFSA’s position on the USFSPA remains unchanged; we support its repeal and continue to address this injustice with members of Congress.” See source
The AFSA position views the military retired pay division as a form of support, similar to alimony.
The USFSPA is used for Division of Property
Property Division Continues – Even After Remarriage
By using the USFSPA Federal law to divide the military retirement pay, states are automatically declaring the division as a property division.
The Federal USFSPA states:
“A court may treat disposable retired pay payable to a member for pay periods beginning after June 25, 1981, either as property solely of the member or as property of the member and his [or her] spouse in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction of such court.”
Federal law does not state: “…may treat … as alimony….”
We can find many states decrees awarding both the division of pay and alimony. This is also the recommendation in Military Divorce Tips (to have separate written declarations in military divorce decrees: one for alimony and one for the division of retirement pay.)
When we view the retirement pay division as property, the proposals and discussions suggesting it should cease upon remarriage lose their credibility.
No other marital asset division ceases upon remarriage.
We don’t say, “You are awarded the house — but only until you remarry, or you are awarded this division of stock — but only until you remarry.”
Perhaps if we increase everyone’s understanding of property vs support, some of the ill feelings and differing opinions would fade away.
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