Military divorces law should be changed

Published 10:31 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

To the editor:

I urge Congress to take action to repeal or greatly modify the unfair “Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act.”

Military members are the only U.S. citizens who have a separate divorce law, which, in effect, awards for life a portion of the military member’s retirement pay to an ex-spouse, regardless of fault or circumstances or the duration of the marriage.

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At a minimum, I urge Congress to support an immediate change to three aspects of this law.

First, base any award of a portion of the member’s retirement pay on the member’s rank at the time of the divorce — not many years later, when he or she actually retires. Second, terminate any award to an ex-spouse when the ex-spouse remarries. Finally, limit any award to a former spouse to no longer than the duration of the failed marriage.

Military members should be treated like every other U.S. citizen, with the award on a case-by-case basis, not an automatic award.

I urge you Congress to repeal or, at least, greatly modify, this unfair law.

Allen Harris Jr.