Q: I lost my job; will that change my child support?
A: It certainly can. In these tough economic times, we know that some financial crisis can be out of our control. Losing a job can be one of the many reasons a court is compelled to modify child support payments.
Q: My spouse is in the military and we are getting divorced. What should I know?
A: Though many of the general practices will be same, a military divorce creates a number of additional issues which are unique only to military personnel and their spouses. The Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act was created to address a number of these issues, particularly the former spouse’s eligibility for continuing benefits and division of the member’s military retired pay. But the former spouse does not automatically receive any of these entitlements. For example, USFSPA permits the State Court to treat military disposable retired pay as marital property and therefore divide it in a divorce action.
Additionally, under USFSPA, a former spouse, like a current spouse, can be designated as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is an annuity that allows retired service members to provide continued income to a named beneficiary in the event of the retiree’s death. When a servicemember becomes eligible for retirement, he or she will be enrolled in the SBP unless he or she declines to participate. If divorce occurs after retirement and the servicemember had initially elected to participate when retiring, the divorce terminates the initial beneficiary designation in favor of the “spouse.” However, coverage may be continued in favor of a “former spouse” either voluntarily, to honor an agreement between the parties, or to comply with a court order. The former spouse however, must elect “former spouse coverage” from the appropriate military finance center within one year of the date of the final divorce decree.
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