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The Federal Government has simply never gotten around, in the last 20 years, to updating the Handbook to reflect the current state of the law regarding FEGLI beneficiary designations.It should be noted, however, that the Federal Government does not appear to have enacted a provision similar to Public Law 105-205 for the SGLI policies that cover military members.
Until recently, though, Virginia courts have not had the ability to require a spouse to maintain life insurance for the other absent the parties’ agreement.
In so holding, the Court found that the federal law of SGLI, which provided that a servicemember’s beneficiary designation controlled how his or her SGLI benefits were paid, trumped the Maine state court order requiring a different beneficiary to receive payments.
At the time of the ruling, FEGLI operated essentially the same as SGLI, so at that time, a state court order requiring the naming of a life insurance beneficiary could not override the employee’s beneficiary designation on file with the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”).
Thus, a court order requiring a divorcing Servicemember to designate his or her former spouse as a beneficiary under his or her SGLI would not survive the Servicemember’s later decision to change his or her beneficiary.
It is essential to hire a divorce attorney who is knowledge about the nuances and complexities of family law.