Who Represents the Military Spouse?

Former Military Spouse Today aims to inform readers on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), as well as exchange opinions and proposals about USFSPA modifications initiated across the country. My question is, “Who represents the military spouse today?”

In 1982 Congress passed the USFSPA allowing state courts to treat military disposable retired pay as divisible property in a divorce. Many service members often credit (or blame) Former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder of Colorado, for her key role in the passing of the USFSPA, but Senator Roger Jepsen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Manpower and Personnel, is also identified as having introduced the bill.

  • Some USFSPA proposals recommend retroactive changes affecting former military spouses.
  • Current military spouses who believe this is a non-issue (since they are happily married), should realize every former military spouse once held that same mindset.

The book,Military Divorce Tips, educates military spouses and service members about the intricacies of a military divorce. This information helps them achieve more equitable decrees and avoid excessive legal fees. With this fundamental understanding of military divorce issues, both sides are able to express knowledgeable viewpoints to representatives or in online divorce forums discussing initiatives to change the USFSPA.

Modifications to the USFSPA are constantly being proposed throughout the country. Extensive internet posts on military divorce forums, many from service members, call for a change. They express their horror stories and hopes concerning recent initiatives to revise the act.

Rarely does one read a post from a former military spouse. This one-sidedness gives the impression that the passing of the USFSPA was a “great injustice” towards service members. But, who is standing up for the rights and well-being of both current and former military spouses? Perhaps these military spouses are not speaking up because either they have little knowledge of the USFSPA or they are unaware of the proposed modifications.

Run a Google search for “service member organizations” or “enlisted/officer organizations,” and an overwhelming number of resources pops up. Next search for “former military spouse organization” or “former military spouse support” and you’ll find only a few quality organizations, such as Cinc House (Commanders in Chief of the House), Spouse Buzz, or the National Military Family Association. military lawyers However, none of these establishments presently notify military spouses that a USFSPA change has been proposed in “such-and-such” state and, “You had better speak up now, before it gets passed.”

More likely, search results concerning former spouses will show venting discussions of “opportunistic greedy spouses” and “lawyers out for military money”.

If military spouses do hear rumblings of initiatives to change the USFSPA, how can they network with each other to express a united opinion? Who will provide advice, such as spending the time to send individual emails to each state representative, rather than carbon copies? Carbon copies go directly to the “trash” folder, never to be seen.

Like most laws, the USFSPA has some weaknesses, but when changes are recommended – in all fairness – both sides have a right to be heard.

With a venue to conversations about recent USFSPA initiatives, military spouses will have a means to be notified of changes and thus, an opportunity to contact representatives in a timely manner.

Please help keep this blog up to date by notifying us of any suggested USFSPA changes occurring in your state. Your comments, links, and suggestions for discussion are most appreciated.
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