The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 83

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2014
83
AFSA NEWS
Divorce Decrees, Court
Orders and Foreign Service
Annuities
Divorce is a sensitive topic, but
an all-too-familiar occurrence
in the Foreign Service. It can
be a difficult and emotionally
trying time and, unfortunately,
the stress and hardship can
recur when you least expect it:
at the time of retirement.
Cases arise from time
to time in which a divorced
Foreign Service employee
finds that his or her divorce
decree or court order does not
meet the State Department’s
strict language requirements
for waiving the ex-spouse’s
entitlement to a portion of
their annuity under Section
861 of the Foreign Service Act.
In the event of a divorce
or separation, it is vitally
important to be aware that
any spousal agreement or
court order waiving retirement
benefits due under the Foreign
Service Act to a former spouse
must do so
expressly
.
The term“expressly” used
in the Foreign Service Act has
been interpreted to mean that
any spousal agreement or
court order waiving retirement
benefits due under the Foreign
Service Act to a former spouse
is required to refer specifi-
cally refer to
Foreign Service
retirement benefits
, not generic
retirement benefits. Nor can
such agreements or court
orders refer erroneously to
Federal Employees Retirement
System benefits.
To expressly waive benefits,
any spousal agreement or
court order must sufficiently
identify the retirement system
involved. To leave no room
for doubt, the words
Foreign
Service
,
FSRDS
or
FSPS
must
appear in the document.
AFSAwill continue to
discuss this issue with the
department to try to make it
less of a burden on our mem-
bers. If you have any questions
or concerns, please do not
hesitate to contact Retiree
Counselor and Legislative
Assistant Matthew Sumrak at
, or Retiree
Counselor Todd Thurwachter
at
.
AFSAmaintains a collection of
divorce-related resources at
.
n
–Matthew Sumrak,
Retiree Counselor
In the event of a divorce or separation,
it is vitally important to be aware that
any spousal agreement or court order
waiving retirement benefits due
under the Foreign Service Act to a
former spouse must do so
expressly.
1...,73,74,75,76,77,78,79,80,81,82 84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,...100
Powered by FlippingBook