Military and Federal Civil Service Divorce: When the Survior Benefit/Annuity Goes Untreated

Military divorce and Federal Civil Service divorce involves more than division of the Servicemember’s disposable military retired pay or the Federal Employee’s annuity.  In military divorce, it also involves treatment of the Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.  In Federal Civil Service divorce, it also involves treatment of the Former Spouse Survivor Annuity.  Failure to expressly award or deny the Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan annuity or Former Spouse Survivor Annuity in the divorce decree means the parties become tenants in common in the undivided community asset, which is subject to future division.1

A Former Spouse may bring a post-divorce suit for division of the undivided asset under Texas Family Code Section 9.201.  The suit can be brought years or decades after the divorce, unless the Servicemember or Federal Employee unequivocally repudiates the Former Spouse’s claim, which then triggers a two-year statute of limitations for the Former Spouse to bring suit.2

Despite the Court’s authority to divided an undivided asset years after the divorce, there may still be significant hurdles implementing a Court’s award through DFAS (for military) or OPM (for civil service) due to Dept. of Defense or OPM regulations.  Speak with a qualified Military or Federal Civil Service divorce attorney to learn more.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC.  The firm provides a spectrum of family law-related services to clients in the greater San Antonio region, across the United States and throughout the world.  The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters. 

Note1See Kadlecek v. Kadlecek, 93 S.W.3d 903 (Tex. App.Austin 2002, no pet.) (upholding the award of a portion of the Federal employee’s Former Spouse Survivor Annuity years after the divorce since it was untreated in the decree).

Note2 — Texas Family Code Section 9.202(a) (stating the two-year statute of limitations is triggered by unequivocal repudiation).