The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 19

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
DECEMBER 2013
19
sure to get some references from actual
FS folks they have represented.
Step 5: Clear your schedule.
If you can
possibly avoid bidding on it, this isn’t
the time to take that 90-hour a week
“dream” job. Getting divorced will be like
a 40-hour-a-week job in itself. We man-
aged to do this in a very busy embassy,
thanks to the practical and emotional
support of colleagues and a tremendous
supervisor, but you can’t count on that.
So minimize as many external pressures
as you can.
Step 6: Get your team briefed up and
loop in your human resources office right
away.
You and your estranged spouse
both have rights and responsibilities in
this process, and you need to know what
those are. The State Department may pay
for things (like a shipment from post for
the departing spouse and plane tick-
ets) that you won’t think of right away,
but that will take tremendous logistical
hassles off your plate. Your HR office
should have someone who is an expert
on FS divorce; if they don’t, they’ll be
able to reach back to Main State and get
the answers for you.
Step 7: Think long-term (as in retire-
ment).
It sounds crazy, we know, since
you may be decades from leaving the
work force, but you need to consult the
Retirement Office as soon as you begin
the nitty-gritty of financial negotiations
with your soon-to-be-former spouse.
State’s basic perspective is that your
former spouse is entitled to half of your
pension and a full share of your sur-
vivor’s benefits unless and until he or
she expressly waives that right and that
waiver is accepted by the relevant team
in the Retirement Office. You should also
make sure to change the beneficiary des-
ignations on all of your accounts (Thrift
Savings Plan, life insurance, etc.), but
none of those steps by itself is sufficient
A time of service…a time of need
Help for Seniors May
Be Just a Phone Call Away—
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care & Respite Care
Prescription Drug Copayments
Transportation to Medical Appointments
Durable Medical Equipment
For more information, please contact the
SENIOR LIVING FOUNDATION
OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE
1716 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-2902
Phone:
(202) 887-8170
Fax:
(202) 872-9320
E-Mail:
Web Site:
The Senior Living Foundation may be
able to help you or someone you know.
Some examples of assistance are:
SPONSORED BY THE
AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE
PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
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