Military Divorce: No SBP at Retirement, No SBP in Divorce

After a military divorce, Former Spouse retired pay payments stop on the death of the Servicemember.  The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a purchased annuity that protects the Former Spouse by providing a replacement stream of income after the Servicemember’s death.

When divorce occurs after the Servicemember’s retirement, there are two scenarios where the Former Spouse will be vulnerable.  First, if the Servicemember at retirement, with the then-Spouse’s written approval, opts for a reduced amount of SBP (i.e. not insuring the full amount of retired pay), then no court can award a higher amount of SBP at divorce.  Second, if the Servicemember at retirement, with the then-Spouse’s written approval, wholly waives SBP, then no court can award any amount of SBP in divorce.

Contact a qualified military divorce attorney to learn more about SBP and other issues in military divorce.

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.  The firms also provides Wills and Estates and Probate services.

See DOD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 7B, Chapter 43, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) – Elections and Changes, Paragraph 430504 C.3. (stating that “no election may be deemed to have been made which could never have been made by the member concerned”).