In divorce, a State court order CAN:
- Divide a Federal employee’s retirement annuity (“pension”)— whether the employee is covered under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
- Ensure that any military service time that overlapped the marriage gets factored into the former spouse’s share of a CSRS or FERS annuity BUT ONLY IF the Federal employee applies for the military service credit.
- Divide a Federal employee’s disability retirement annuity.
- Order that annuity payments continue to be paid to the former spouse’s estate should the former spouse die first.
- Divide any potential refund of the employee’s CSRS or FERS retirement contributions (i.e. payroll deductions).
- Order a former spouse survivor annuity (FSSA) to provide income security after the death of the employee.
- Divide the employee’s Thrift Savings Plan retirement savings.
- Order a freeze on the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). A freeze ensures the employee cannot interfere with the court’s ability to divide TSP by preventing the employee from making withdrawals or taking out loans until further order of the court.
- Facilitate a former spouse’s continued coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP).
- Order an employee to cover eligible children under FEHBP.
- Order an employee to make an irrevocable assignment of the employee’s Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) coverage to a former spouse or Trust to include FEGLI basic coverage plus all options selected (other than Option C).
In divorce, a State court order CANNOT:
- Take away any share of the employee’s CSRS or FERS annuity that was earned before marriage.
- Divide a CSRS or FERS annuity using the same language and procedures that govern private employer retirement plans.
- Divide TSP using the same language and procedures that govern private employer retirement plans.
- Order a former spouse survivor annuity (FSSA) if the maximum possible benefit was awarded to another former spouse in a prior divorce.
- Order an employee to make a specific beneficiary designation on the employee’s Federal Employeees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) policy
- Order an employee to make a “split or partial assignment” of FEGLI basic coverage and all options selected (other than Option C).
- Order Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) benefits for a former spouse.
- Order Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) benefits for a former spouse.
For a more in-depth discussion of these and other subjects, please refer back to the 15 key issues in the table of contents by clicking on Federal Civil Service Divorce.