Retirement from government work may lead to complications with the division of assets when a federal employee divorces his or her spouse. It is vital for the worker to know how his or her retirement benefits and accounts could face such deductions from a former spouse after reaching and progressing through retirement.
Enrollment and eligibility connect the government or military worker to the spouse. If he or she signed the other up for health and annuity or retirement benefits, even divorce may not separate the other spouse from entitlements to these funds and amenities. Health insurance and similar programs may not remain when the divorce or annulment becomes final. The same is possible for any children part of the marriage that live with the ex-spouse under sole or primary custody. However, if the worker did not place the spouse’s name in the documentation for annuity, he or she may not receive any or little support after the divorce.
Office of Personnel Management
The OPM connects the worker to government procedures. This branch of the federal government oversees the civilian workforce in the country. When the person works for the government, he or she may receive benefits as entitled to him or her through the federal government. This extends through to retirement and may ensure the former government employee at that time has a sizeable amount of retirement funds to take care of him or her throughout the rest of his or her life. This may include other programs and health insurance. When a spouse divorces this person, he or she may see divisions in the benefits granted to the ex-husband or ex-wife when certain requirements are present.
When the retiring government worker reaches the point where the pension or retirement account funds become dispersed, he or she may see up to half of it transferred to a former spouse. This occurs when that spouse is someone that the former government worker engaged in a marriage for no less than nine months while working for the government agency. The employee must have at least eighteen months in active civilian work behind him or her at some point. The last requirement for survivor benefits to divide between divorced spouses is a time of less than 30 years of marriage with no remarriage by the former spouse before he or she turns 55. If any of these requirements does not exist in the situation, no benefits will divide between the two parties.
A qualifying court must issue an order for survivor benefits to disperse to the former spouse. The necessary requirements need to exist, and the court must engage for this specific claim. Depending on certain factors, it is possible to reduce the amount transferred to the ex-spouse. However, it is important to contact legal representation before attempting any action. The retired government worker may find the court order enforceable without additional measures cancelling it through a lawyer’s help. To start this, it is important to refute the eligibility and claim to the annuity funds. Then, the worker and legal representative may progress from there.
OPM Involvement in Divorce and Retirement
The ex-spouse of a government employee needs a court order for retirement and other benefits from this worker to divide after the divorce finalizes. The OPM is the contact authority in these matters. Seals of court orders and division of marital assets usually process through this office. Survivor benefits also require a seal copied and filed with the OPM. For action to defend against these retirement accounts and funds from a former spouse, any legal representation will need to communicate with the OPM as well. At least three copies of orders, documentation and what assets are split between the former spouse and the former government employee must reside with the OPM after the processes complete with the divorce.
All changes or alterations of initial paperwork should occur with the OPM before retirement if possible. This is especially important if the ex-spouse may no longer have access to the retirement funds. This occurs when he or she marries a person before age 55 and all other requirements are met.
Legal Support with the OPM in Divorce
The division of assets with retirement and other funds may decrease the quality of life for a former government worker or cause difficulty in paying bills. It is important to contact a lawyer to determine if there is any possible action to stop the division.