It happens all too often that the Defense Finance & Accounting Service (DFAS) will reject a former spouse’s application for the share of military retired pay awarded to him or her in a military divorce. This occurs when the award expression in the divorce decree, or domestic relations order (DRO) that often complements the decree, is missing one or more pieces of information DFAS needs to compute the former spouse’s share. The bad news typically arrives when DFAS sends the former spouse a letter informing that he or she needs to get the court to issue a clarification order that provides the missing information.
We can help. The requirements proper division of military retired pay in divorce are detailed in Dep’t of Defense Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 7B, Chapter 29, Former Spouse Payments From Retired Pay. We understand the DODFMR’s labyrinth of requirements, which can be very confusing to those who have never done a military divorce or only infrequently deal with the subject matter. Let us “break the code” for you.
For a former spouse client, we’ll determine the error, obtain the missing information, and work with either the ex-spouse or their attorney to get a clarification order entered with the court. As needed, we prepare and re-submit the former spouse application for retired pay to DFAS (i.e. re-application is necessary if more than 90 days has elapsed since the initial application).
We also provide support services to other attorneys as they endeavor to do the scope of work described above for their client. In these cases, we work behind the scenes to help other attorneys succeed.
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 firms also provides Wills and Estates and Probate services.