Spouse benefits and divorce


Q. I have been married to a postal employee for 26 years. We have recently separated. He will be retiring this year after 36 years of service. What are my rights as his wife to his retirement benefits if any?

A. Were he to die while you were separated, you’d be entitled to a survivor annuity. If you divorce, you’d be entitled to whatever was contained in the court order ending your marriage.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.


  1. Vicki McCown Mewes on

    I was recently told I will receive 1/2 of my ex-spouses Fers …we signed the papers Dec. 6 2016 …Can you tell me when to expect payments to start..

    • No, I can’t. Only OPM can do that. If you are entitled to portion of his annuity and he is retired, you can call OPM at 1-888-767-6738 and find out what the current processing time is for such payments. If he hasn’t retired, you wouldn’t be entitled to anything until he retires.

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