Sometimes the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will not accept a former spouse application for military retired pay because the divorce decree or domestic relations order fails to provide enough information for DFAS to compute the former spouse’s entitlement. DFAS’ letter of non-acceptance instructs the former spouse to obtain a a court order that clarifies the award. That’s one option, but another exists that can be quicker and less costly.
Department of Defense regulations provide that, in such cases, the former spouse may submit either a clarification order or a notarized agreement. A notarized agreement is a statement signed by each spouse (before a notary) that provides DFAS with the missing information it requires. The notarized agreement is only possible if goodwill and cooperation between the ex-spouses still exists. Once the notarized agreement has been accepted by DFAS, it is irrevocable except by subsequent court order.
It should go without say that if goodwill and cooperation don’t exist between the ex-spouses, then the only option is to obtain a clarification order from the court. Speak with a qualified military divorce attorney for more information.
Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm. The Cramp Law Firm provides a spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region.