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How divorce can affect federal employer benefits


Regular life events can affect any employee’s income and employment benefits. If a person is a federal employee, certain policies go into effect during and after a divorce and will impact the benefits in various ways. A federal employee in Texas, or a person formerly married to one, will need to take certain steps to manage changes in benefits during a divorce. 

Federal Employees Health Benefits are affected when an individual enters a divorce. During the legal separation and the time period before the divorce is finalized, a soon-to-be ex-spouse remains eligible to stay on the FEHB plan. When the marriage ends, the spouse who is not a federal employee is no longer a part of a federal health plan, even if the divorce decree contains a provision saying that the spouse must be kept on. A spouse can choose to continue the coverage temporarily or permanently at his or her own expense. 

After the divorce, a federal employee can choose to continue to provide coverage for other eligible family members such as children. An individual can choose to change to a self only, a self plus one, or a self and family plan. If the employee is signed up for federal employee’s life insurance coverage, he or she will likely want to change the beneficiary after a divorce. The requirement that a federal employee provide a survivor annuity for a spouse also ends when the divorce is final.

A divorce is a time when many individuals make changes to benefits plans and insurance coverage. Certain laws govern how federal employees will make those changes. In Texas, an individual with more questions about how to handle the transition may choose to consult an attorney for more guidance. 

Source:, “What to do if you Get Divorced as a Federal Employee“, Feb. 27, 2018

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