January 01, 2017

Reserve Retirement and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act: The Hypothetical Kuenzli v. Kuenzli Divorce

By Lt. Col. Kristine D. Kuenzli

When I first started using a hypothetical briefing of my own divorce to fellow judge advocate generals more than 15 years ago as a way to illustrate the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), the focus was on the division of my active-duty husband’s upcoming retirement pay and what I would be entitled to as a former spouse. Lest the reader think that I am callous, my husband and I have, at least at this point, a happy marriage with no plans on divorcing. However, as a military spouse and a military attorney, mapping out my own divorce was an illustrative way to explain to other military attorneys what they needed to understand about USFSPA when advising clients. Those briefings focused on what I would be entitled to in terms of both financial compensation and other military benefits, if I was married to him for 20 years of his active-duty service.

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