Caring. Compassionate. Collaborative.

Navigating federal benefits during a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce in Florida can significantly affect a federal employee’s benefits, including health insurance, retirement and survivor benefits. Understanding these benefits and how they are affected will help you navigate the divorce process.

Federal retirement benefits

When going through a divorce, a primary concern is how the division of retirement benefits will work. Retirement benefits for federal employees are under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). Typically, these retirement benefits are considered marital property, which means that they could be subject to division in a divorce.

Suppose retirement benefits obtained during a marriage are considered marital property. In that case, the division happens through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), an official court order that directs the retirement plan administrator to divide the benefits. Retirement benefit division between spouses happens according to the terms of a divorce decree.

Federal health benefits

Health insurance is another essential issue to consider during a divorce. Are you covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program? If so, your ex-spouse may be eligible to continue insurance coverage under your plan. This continued coverage is through the Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC) program. However, your ex-spouse will be responsible for paying a premium, and it can be expensive.

Federal survivor benefits

Finally, if you were married for at least nine months before your death, under CSRS or FERS, an ex-spouse may be eligible for survivor benefits. However, if the ex-spouse remarries before age 55, they may lose survivor benefit eligibility.