Divorce

Divorce

Learn about important steps you can take to stabilize and secure your future after a divorce.

Be sure to review your insurance coverage and keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Thrift Savings Plan, Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) and Unpaid Compensation

For additional information, visit the OPM Separations and Divorce webpage, and contact your Component Benefits Officer with any questions.

Name Change

To change your name in your official employee records, follow these steps:

  1. Provide an official document that shows both your old and new names, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree, to your supervisor. Alternately, you can provide two official documents, such as bank statements or phone bills, one that shows your old name and one that shows your new name.
  2. You should also notify the Social Security Administration, available by phone at 1-800-SSA-1213.

Address Change

Use the National Finance System, Employee Personnel Page (EPP) to change your address for your earnings and leave statements, health insurance benefits, Thrift Savings Plan, PIN, and passwords.

Federal and State Tax Withholding

Use the National Finance System, Employee Personnel Page (EPP) to change your marital status, number of exemptions, amount of additional deduction, file your W-4 form, or file an exemption from withholding.

NOTE: You may NOT use the EPP if you move to new state and need to file that state’s withholding form, file an exemption from state withholding, or claim more than 10 exemptions. Contact your human resources office for more information.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Use the National Finance System, Employee Personnel Page (EPP) to change your bank or financial institution. You will need to supply the following information:

  • Financial Institution's Routing Number
  • Account Number
  • Account Type (Checking or Savings)

Note: We recommend leaving your old account open until you know that all your payments are successfully deposited into your new account.

Court Orders and Divorce Decrees

If your attorney requests additional information pertaining to your federal benefits, you can refer them to the following reference materials:

Retirement Funds

Court orders that discuss your Federal Employees Retirement Service (FERS) should be submitted directly to the address below:

Office of Personnel Management Office of Retirement Programs
Court Order Benefit Section
P.O. Box 17
Washington, DC 20044-0017 

Court orders that affect your Thrift Savings Plan should be submitted directly to the address below:

Thrift Savings Plan
Legal Processing Unit
Fairfax Post Office
CODIS – P.O. Box 4390
Fairfax, VA 22038-9998 

Health Insurance

After a divorce, your former spouse cannot be covered under your Self and Family plan.  If a court order instructs you to continue to provide health benefits to your former spouse, that court order CANNOT supersede federal law that provides coverage for current family members ONLY. If you had Self and Family coverage and you do not have children, you should change your coverage to a Self Only plan.

To enroll or change your health insurance enrollment, you must complete the Health Benefits Registration form (SF 2809) and submit it with a copy of the divorce decree to your human resources office within the 90-day period beginning 31 days before and ending 60 days after the official date of your divorce.

If a court order requires that you continue to provide health benefits for your children through your health insurance policy, your Human Resources office is required by law to change your enrollment to Self and Family to provide such coverage.

NOTE: Current healthcare regulations do not permit coverage of former stepchildren.

Spouse Equity

Your former spouse may qualify for Spouse Equity healthcare coverage if he or she meets both of the following terms:

  • He or she was covered as a family member under your Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) plan during the 18 months before the divorce or annulment.
  • He or she has obtained a qualifying court order that awards a portion of your annuity or a survivor annuity, and does not remarry before age 55.

Spouse Equity coverage continues indefinitely, as long as your former spouse continues to meet the above criteria and continues to pay both the employee and government shares of the FEHB premium.

NOTE: The cost of Spouse Equity coverage is slightly less than under Temporary Continuation of Coverage because the 2% administrative fee does not apply.

Even if your former spouse is enrolled in FEHB as a federal employee, it is still recommended that he or she establish eligibility for Spouse Equity coverage within the required time frame in order to preserve future entitlement.

To determine if your former spouse qualifies for Spouse Equity, your former spouse should send the request for determination of eligibility to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office of Retirement Programs:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement and Insurance Group
Office of Retirement Programs
P.O. Box 17
Washington, DC 20044 

The request must include the following information:

  • A certified copy (not a photocopy of a certified copy) of the divorce decree, property settlements, and/or court order (if applicable); and
  • the employee's name, date of birth, social security number, and last employing agency (if applicable).

Once OPM has reviewed all required information, they will notify your former spouse in writing.  If determined eligible, your former spouse should submit the determination and all required information submitted with the initial determination request to OPM’s Office of Retirement Programs:

Office of Personnel Management
Retirement and Insurance Group
Office of Retirement Programs
P.O. Box 17
Washington, DC 20044 

While awaiting a Spouse Equity determination from OPM, your former spouse is entitled to enroll in Temporary Continuation of Coverage.

Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC)

If your former spouse does not qualify for Spouse Equity healthcare coverage, he or she may qualify for Temporary Continuation of Coverage (TCC). Under TCC, healthcare coverage continues for a maximum of 36 months after the divorce or annulment, provided your former spouse continues to pay the employee's share, the government's share, plus a 2% administrative charge.

To enroll in TCC, your former spouse must complete a Health Benefits Registration form (SF 2809) and submit it along with a copy of the divorce decree to your human resources office.

Life Insurance (FEGLI)

If your divorce decree states that you must maintain a specific amount of life insurance with your former spouse named as beneficiary, you have options:

  1. Provide a certified copy of the divorce decree to your component human resources office for filing in your Official Personnel Folder (OPF). If the employing office receives the certified copy before you die, it will take precedence over a designation of beneficiary or the normal order of precedence.
  2. Make an irrevocable assignment of your FEGLI benefits to your former spouse, which will automatically cancel a prior designation of beneficiary.
  3. Purchase private life insurance in the dollar amount required.

You may cancel FEGLI Basic, Option A, B, or C, or reduce the multiples of Option B coverage at any time, unless you have irrevocably assigned your FEGLI coverage or a court order requires you to give all or a portion of your FEGLI benefits to a specific individual. 

To make an election or change in FEGLI coverage, you must complete and submit a Life Insurance Election form (SF 2817) to your human resources office.

Additional Resources (EAP)

DHS component Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) provide a number of additional resources for DHS employees and their eligible family members, including no-cost, confidential counseling, and financial and legal consultation.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers vary by component.  Visit the Employee Assistance Programs page to find contact information for your component's EAP provider.

Was this page helpful?

This page was not helpful because the content:

Microsite Carousel

Back to Top