Former Military Spouses and the Survivor Benefit Plan

| Mar 9, 2016 | Military Divorce |

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As a military family law divorce attorney in Massachusetts, I am frequently asked by former military spouses what they need to do if their divorce decree requires the servicemember to provide survivor benefit plan coverage (SBP).  

Since there is a provision in a court order or an agreement approved by a court order, which requires the member to make a former spouse SBP election, then you or your attorney should submit what is known as a “deemed election” request. In effect, you are asking that an election of SBP coverage be made on your behalf to guarantee compliance with the court order or agreement. The “deemed election” must be made within 1 year from the date of the court order or agreement that requires the military retiree to provide former spouse SBP coverage for you.

It is not enough for there to be a provision in a court order awarding the former spouse SBP coverage. Either the member or the former spouse must make a request to the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) within the appropriate 1 year time frame in order for the former spouse coverage to be implemented. In addition, a former spouse may not deem an election if the member did not elect SBP coverage when the member first became eligible to participate in the SBP program. An exception to this rule would apply if the divorce decree and court order requiring former spouse SBP coverage are issued before the member retires. In that case, the deemed election must be submitted to DFAS within 1 year of the relevant court order or agreement even though the member has not yet elected to participate in the SBP.

Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.

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