How Is Divorce Different For Federal Employees?
As a federal employee or someone who is married to a federal employee, you are likely aware that you are entitled to certain benefits that others in the private or nonprofit sectors do not have. Just as having a child impacts your federal benefits, so does getting divorced.
Below, we discuss what you should keep in mind if you are a federal employee getting separated or divorced:
Spouse Coverage under FEHB
If you are enrolled in the self plus or self and family option regarding FEHB benefits, the non-federal employee spouse will continue to be eligible under the FEHB enrollment while you are separated. However, as soon as you are divorced, eligibility for the non-federal employee spouse (ex) ends, regardless of what your divorce agreement or court order indicates.
That being said, the non-federal employee spouse (ex) has the opportunity to continue their coverage by converting their individual policy with the FEHB carrier, under the spouse equity act, or via the temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) provision. This allows them to continue this same coverage at their own expense.
Other Family Members’ Coverage under FEHB
You have a number of options in terms of family members continuing to receive FEHB benefits. If you just want to cover yourself, you can switch to self-only; if you have one eligible family member, you can switch to self plus one; and if you have other eligible family members, you can continue under the self and family option. Alternatively, you can switch to another plan altogether.
Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance
If you signed up for Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance, and you designated your spouse as the beneficiary in the instance of your death, you will likely want to change that via the Standard Form 2823.
As a federal employee, you are also provided with a survivor annuity. However, this ends when your annulment or divorce is finalized, so make sure that you notify the agency that you work for (note that if you are retired, this is the Office of Personnel Management, “OPM”).
Florida Divorce Attorneys Representing Federal Employees
If you are a federal employee, you should work with an experienced divorce attorney in order to ensure that your federal benefits proceed exactly as you envision during and after your separation and divorce. Any use of improper wording or vague language in an order or decree can send you back into court for a clarification order. In addition, if you plan to get married again, awarding full survivor benefits to a former spouse could make things excessively complicated and expensive if you change your mind and would like to award these benefits to a subsequent spouse.
If you live in Florida, contact one of our knowledgeable Orlando divorce attorneys at the Arwani Law Firm, PLLC to help ensure you are prepared and everything goes smoothly during your separation and divorce.