UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT PLANS
When dealing with governmental employees at the time of divorce -- such as postal employees, civilian employees on military bases, etc., it is important to remember that they are members of one of two retirement plans: Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or Federal Employee's Retirement Systems (FERS).
Once a spouse's lawyer properly prepares and submits an acceptable court order for processing, the non-employee spouse who is awarded a portion of the retirement as property settlement will begin to receive benefits as the Alternate Payee as soon as the governmental employee -- called the "Participant" -- retires. These benefits are paid over the lifetime of the Participant. Should the Alternate Payee also be entitled to receive a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity, these monthly annuity payments will begin at the time the Participant dies and will continue for the life of the Alternate Payee.