The Honorable (Full name)
United States Senate/US House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510/20515
Dear Senator/Congress(wo)man (Family name):
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA); 10 USC 1408 et seq has been in effect since 25 June 1981. The hardships it has inflicted on affected service personnel and their families, since that time, may exceeds the benefits to former spouses it is intended to protect. Moreover, the early 1980's society of military families this law was designed for, has changed, dramatically:
The USFSPA was crafted primarily for the benefit female spouses of male commissioned officers. Although two thirds of the former spouse population is married to enlisted personnel, only a small percentage of them enjoy the military health care and base privileges available to 20/20/20 former officer corps spouses.
Clearly, Congress was focused on protecting the non-military female member of a military marriage, in 1982.
The only pronoun “his”, appears only five times in the USFSPA. The dramatic growth of married female service personnel was neither anticipated nor accommodated.
The small number of military spouses working outside the home, in 1981, has grown 60 percent in 2009.
The most egregious USFSPA provision authorizes court-ordered division of military retired pay as jointly earned marital property to former spouses after they remarry.
Another glaring inequity is that the minimum of 20 years creditable service military personnel must perform to the receive retired pay their spouses qualify for the moment they say “I do” and receive their DD FORM 1173.
The USFSPA fails to take into account the vastly different characteristics, scope and duration of "services to the nation” performed by the respective military marriage partners. The divorced partner who is ordered in harms way receives the same consideration at the retired pay window as their non-combatant spouse.
By omission, the USFSPA authorizes payment of a 'windfall' to former spouses who benefit from post-divorce promotions, when they are indeed, no longer a factor. Another error of omission is the lack of a provision limiting the amount of time former spouses can delay claiming omitted USFSPA property benefits, after their military divorce is final. This is tantamount to a congressionally endorsed lifetime of tyranny, to affected service members and their families.
Finally, although the USFSPA clearly intends that veteran’s disability compensation must not be re-distributed in divorce, this provision has been circumvented, violated and ignored by state courts and is in conflict with other legislation.
Please, familiarize yourself with the American Retirees Association’s Uniformed Services Divorce Equity Act legislative proposal