In this installment of “military divorce myths,” we’ll look at the belief that “a former spouse’s share of military retired pay stops on remarriage.” False.
This misconception arises from a blurring of the rules affecting Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) awards. More on that in a moment. For now, a former spouse’s share of military retired pay is a property right unaffected by subsequent remarriage. The former spouse’s share of retired pay will only terminate in one of two ways: (1) on death of the former spouse, or (2) on death of the servicemember.
Former Spouse SBP is a purchased annuity that provides an alternate income stream after the servicemember dies and military retired pay stops. If a former spouse remarries prior to age 55, then eligibility for Former Spouse SBP gets suspended. This is where by myth comes from — a blurring of the rules affecting Former Spouse SBP and former spouse military retired pay. Don’t confuse the two. Before closing, it should be emphasized that if the former spouse’s subsequent marriage ends by death, divorce or annulment, then eligibility for Former Spouse SBP gets reinstated.
Speak with a qualified military divorce attorney if you have other questions.
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.