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HOW YOUR SURVIVOR BENEFITS PLAN WILL BE AFFECTED BY DIVORCE

Survivior Benefits Plan

If you’re a military retiree, it’s important that you understand how divorce affects your Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP). Your soon to be ex-spouse is likely the current beneficiary of the plan. This section will explain your options, including when you can remove a spouse and who else can be the beneficiary. Decisions made now can affect you for many years to come. It is important that you make knowledgeable and well-reasoned decisions.

An SBP is an annuity program that provides continuing benefits to beneficiaries selected by you in the event of your death. You must be retired or retirement-eligible active duty to qualify for an SBP. Beneficiaries may be your spouse, your children, or both your spouse and children.

Community Property

During a divorce, your SBP will be included with other community property. Community property is the shared property of the marriage, the assets and debts which must be equitably divided by the court. Since community property must be equitably divided, you and your spouse may decide that you will continue providing SBP coverage or the court may order that it continue.

There are benefits and drawbacks to continuing or ending coverage. To ensure you make the right choice as part of an overall community property strategy, you’ll need a Washington state divorce attorney who understands your SBP.

Another option is to allow your spouse to take out a private life insurance policy. This would require you to sign the plan allowing them to have it, but would then free up your SCRA to assign to the person you would like it to be assigned to.

It is important to note that if the divorce occurs after retirement, former spouse coverage is not automatic. You have one year to elect former spouse coverage and file such with the Defense Financial and Accounting Service.

SPOUSAL BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

One of the drawbacks to covering a former spouse is that you can’t cover a new spouse. Your SBP cannot be divided between a current spouse and a former spouse. If your former spouse is the beneficiary of your SBP and you remarry, your new spouse cannot be a beneficiary.

COVERING CHILDREN

Depending on the specific SBP you have, you may be able to switch the benefits from your ex-spouse to your children. This would allow your children to directly receive benefits.

Making the right decision concerning your SBP during a divorce takes experience with both Washington State family law and military regulations. The attorneys at Divorce Lawyers For Military have the first-hand legal experience you need to help you make these decisions. Protect your rights and assets in divorce court.  Email us or call us at (877) 866-7393 to speak with a military divorce attorney who understands your situation.

property division in divorce

Community Property

During a divorce, your SBP will be included with other community property. Community property is the shared property of the marriage, the assets and debts which must be equitably divided by the court. Since community property must be equitably divided, you and your spouse may decide that you will continue providing SBP coverage or the court may order that it continue.

There are benefits and drawbacks to continuing or ending coverage. To ensure you make the right choice as part of an overall community property strategy, you’ll need a Washington state divorce attorney who understands your SBP.

Another option is to allow your spouse to take out a private life insurance policy. This would require you to sign the plan allowing them to have it, but would then free up your SCRA to assign to the person you would like it to be assigned to.

It is important to note that if the divorce occurs after retirement, former spouse coverage is not automatic. You have one year to elect former spouse coverage and file such with the Defense Financial and Accounting Service.

SPOUSAL BENEFITS AND COVERAGE

One of the drawbacks to covering a former spouse is that you can’t cover a new spouse. Your SBP cannot be divided between a current spouse and a former spouse. If your former spouse is the beneficiary of your SBP and you remarry, your new spouse cannot be a beneficiary.

COVERING CHILDREN

Depending on the specific SBP you have, you may be able to switch the benefits from your ex-spouse to your children. This would allow your children to directly receive benefits.

Making the right decision concerning your SBP during a divorce takes experience with both Washington State family law and military regulations. The attorneys at Divorce Lawyers For Military have the first-hand legal experience you need to help you make these decisions. Protect your rights and assets in divorce court.  Email us or call us at (877) 866-7393 to speak with a military divorce attorney who understands your situation.