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Divorce with Federal Employees

Is there a federal law that governs how federal retirement benefits and the FSSA are to be divided?

Yes. FERS pension division and allocation of the Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA)—the survivor annuity associated with the federal pension—is extremely complex. Additionally, your attorney should be familiar with what unique benefits exist for the federal retiree, how to divide them in an equitable manner, and what protections are available for the former spouse after the divorce.

How is the FSSA premium paid?

OPM permits a myriad of ways in which the premium for FSSA may be paid by the parties.

I need an expert who handles issues with dividing federal employee retirements. Can you provide assistance to my local attorney as co-counsel and/or testify as an expert witness if necessary?

Yes. We have three attorneys in our office who are well-versed in divorce matters involving federal employees and retirees— Brentley Tanner, Ashley L. Oldham, and Kaitlin S. Kober.

I am the former spouse of a federal employee. Can I continue with my health insurance?

The former spouse of a federal employee may be entitled to continued health care benefits with the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Program. The length of continued coverage for the former spouse will depend on certain complex rules regarding eligibility beyond the initial 3-year enrollment period.

Are there strict time requirements in which I have to apply for continued health care coverage under FEHB?

Depending on the triggering event, there is typically a rigid 60-day window of time to implement continued FEHB coverage for the former spouse. Falling outside that fast deadline can result in the loss of all entitlement to continued coverage.

Is federal disability compensation divisible as property?

In North Carolina, the answer is yes. There are intricacies as to how disability retirement is adjusted at benchmarks based on the employee’s minimum retirement age.

Is there any way I can lose the FSSA if I remarry?

Yes. If a former spouse remarries before age 55, FSSA coverage is suspended. Coverage may be restored if that marriage is annulled or ends in divorce or death prior to the death of the federal retiree.

Do I need a QDRO?

A QDRO divides private pension plans. The proper order to divide a federal pension is called a Court Order Acceptable for Processing (COAP).

If you are a Federal employee facing a divorce, contact Parker Bryan Family Law to speak with an attorney who has the experience and the knowledge  to handle the complexity of your circumstances.