To the Editor,
This is an open letter urging officials to take action to repeal or greatly modify the unfair “Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act” (P.L. 97-252 and amendments). 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. While the law does not mandate a judge must award a portion of the retirement pay, precedent has caused this result to become fact, and the award to an ex-spouse during a divorce proceeding has become automatic. Frankly, the law has come to victimize those who serve. As a member of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association, which represents all current and former Air Force members, I see this as a legislative priority that deserves your leadership and your action.
At a minimum, I urge you 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 (which is what this unfair law has become
I urge you to introduce legislation to repeal or, at least, greatly modify this unfair law. As a voter and one of your constituents, I respectfully request a response to this letter so that I can understand where you stand on this issue.