How to calculate portion of FERS retirement annuity for ex-spouse

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Hi, so I am retiring in July after 23 years of federal service (including buy-back), under FERS. I was divorced in 2011 and my ex-wife was awarded 50% of my retirement at time of separation. at the time of separation I had 13 years of service. How much will she be entitled to? my salary was 120K

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Asked on March 2, 2017 1:48 am
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Without seeing the order that was sent to OPM, I can only guess that your former spouse was awarded what OPM terms a pro-rata share award. Generally speaking, OPM will calculate your annuity at the time of your retirement in the same fashion as if you hadn’t been divorced. They will then develop a fraction that they will use to divide your annuity. The order could divide your self-only annuity or your gross annuity – all depends on the wording in the order. The numerator of the fraction is typically the number of months that you were married and a federal employee. In your case, it appears that the court order ended the marriage at the separation date. The denominator will be your total creditable service, including military time and unused sick leave (unless the order stated otherwise). Suppose your career length is determined by OPM to be 276 months and your marriage length was 156 months. The fraction is 156/276 = 56.52%. That represents the marital share of the annuity. If she was awarded 50%, then her award is 28.26%. If your annuity is $3,000 per month, she receives $847.80 per month.
We made a number of assumptions here, and there are other items that might have been addressed in the order, such a survivor annuity and its related cost as well as possibly using a high-3 based upon your date of separation. Orders also state a specific treatment of military deposit service.

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Answered on March 2, 2017 3:27 am

Thank you so much for that very thorough and thoughtful response! Looks like I have lots of research ahead of me.

( at March 6, 2017 7:20 pm)

You are more than welcome.

( at March 7, 2017 2:58 am)
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Hi: Scenario– Married in 1987, Divorced in1995 with former military spouse. He has 92 months of marriage and 288 months of credible service. I was awarded 45% of disposal military pension and COLAs through end of service/retirement date (288 months), sample retirement annual annuity is $19,799 (disposal income). What is the calculation? I end up with 92/288 = 31.94% but can’t figure out how to get 45% of the $19,799 out of the 31.94% Also FERS portion states spouse gets 50% of FERs annuity based only upon wife’s first five years of fed svc, and does not include COLAs after the marital separation date 7/95. Is the calculation a simple flat 50% of whatever the first five yrs High-three three x 5% divided by 2? or is the calculation the same as the military pension calculation above? Divorce decree language for military spouse division of military pension is the standard language to include COLAs applicable through retirement date (doesn’t stop at marital separation date). SBP was properly addressed, not an issue. Appreciate your help.
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Answered on May 18, 2017 1:24 am
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With respect to the military retiree portion divorce of your question, I am unable to respond as that is not my area of expertise.  However, based on a statement within your question, you indicate you were only married 82 months or 7.6 years.  With that information, the following link might assist you in seeing how this payment will be made to you:  http://www.livesaymyers.com/10-year-rule-military-divorce/
As stated in my previous response to the original question above, without seeing the court order that was sent to OPM, it is impossible to determine how the FERS annuity is divided.  For example, you state “does not include COLAs after the marital separation.” Cost of Living Adjustments are not paid to employees, only to retirees.  So that statement would have no bearing on the FERS division of annuity.
And, FYI, OPM uses, as a default, the high-3 average salary at the time of retirement unless the divorce decree states otherwise.  This is just one example to help you appreciate why I am unable to be more specific in my response.

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Answered on May 18, 2017 6:26 pm

I was married 19 years and my husband is still serving in the Army and should retire In the next 2 years. He was active duty or 10 years and the rest he is Army reserve. We try to find out how much retirement portion I suppose to get. His attorney says I get 50% x 120 month (10 years) and the denominator will be determined at the time he retires. My attorney said I will get 27.5% for 10 years after he get retired. How can I find out who is right to get the right math on the amount what I would get monthly for 10 years. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you so much

( at July 17, 2017 8:15 pm)
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I apologize in advance as military retirements and their division are my within my knowledge base. When I get home Wednesday I will gladly do some research to send your way.

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Answered on July 17, 2017 9:51 pm
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What language do I use In a COAP so that my former wife’s share of my annuity is frozen as of the divorce filing date.

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Answered on October 13, 2017 12:28 am
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COAP language is best left to an experienced professional. There are a couple of ways that could be accomplished. You could calculate what the monthly amount of your retirement benefit would have been as of that date and order OPM to pay your former spouse a specified dollar amount per month based upon that result. The other way is to award the former spouse a prorata share under 5 CFR 838.621, but specify the end date of the marriage as the filing date and specify under 5 CFR 838.622(c)(1)(ii) that OPM is to calculate the award at your retirement using the high-3 that was in place at the time of filing. That will essentially hold your former spouse’s award to what was earned as of the filing date.
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Answered on October 13, 2017 3:16 pm
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Would the following language freeze the marital share of the former spouse or would OPM Interpret this as a pro-rata share?
“This Order assigns to Former Spouse an amount equal to Fifty Percent (50.00 %) of the Marital Portion of the Employee’s Gross Monthly Annuity (including any military benefits payable by the OPM and benefits accrued while covered under CSRS, if any) determined as of the date the marriage ended ( [Insert Marriage End Date] ). For purposes of calculating Former Spouse’s share of Employee’s benefit, the Marital Portion shall be determined by multiplying the Employee’s Gross Monthly Annuity earned through the date the marriage ended ([Insert Marriage End Date]) by a fraction (less than 1.0), the numerator of which is the total number of months of Creditable Service earned under the FERS during the marriage ( from [Insert Marriage Start Date] to [Insert Marriage End Date] ) , and the denominator of which is the total number of months of the Employee’s Creditable Service accrued under the Federal Employees Retirement System through [Insert Marriage End Date]. (The numerator and denominator shall include, as applicable, any military service credited to the CSRS and/or FERS and service credited under the CSRS if the Employee made an irrevocable one-time election to transfer from CSRS into FERS). The marriage began on [Insert Marriage Start Date].”

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Answered on October 13, 2017 3:53 pm
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It appears you have just copied the sample paragraph from The Attorney Handbook RI-38-116.  As this matter is very important to properly memorialize, the assistance of an experienced professional from this area of expertise is essential in developing the proper language for your settlement agreement and neither this forum nor the FAQ section of the attorney handbook is that forum.

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Answered on October 13, 2017 4:28 pm