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DIVORCE - FORMER SPOUSE BENEFITS

Former Spouses' Statutory Entitlements

Former spouses have a default entitlement to a pro rata marital share of the annuity, survivor annuity and health benefits coverage if the following conditions have been met:

  • Former spouse must have been married to annuitant for at least 10 years of the employee’s creditable service (civilian or military), with 5 of these years occurring while the employee was in  the Foreign Service; and
  • Have been divorced from employee after February 15, 1981, and
  • Have not remarried prior to age 55 or expressly waived spousal benefits under the Foreign Service Act of 1980.

A qualified court order or a valid spousal agreement will take precedence over the above-noted provisions.

Qualified Court Order Or Valid Spousal Agreement

A court order or spousal agreement that alters or waives the statutory entitlement payable under the Foreign Service Act to a former spouse must do so expressly.  To expressly alter or waive a Former Spouse’s statutory entitlement to benefits, the court order spousal or agreement must specifically refer to Foreign Service retirement.  For example, the parties may specify that the relevant language in the court order or agreement pertains to pension, survivor or refunds under the Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System if the annuitant is a FSRDS participant, or under the Foreign Service Pension System if the annuitant is a FSPS participant.

For more information, download the “Foreign Service Divorce Handbook.”