What are spouses' rights under the TSP?

The law gives certain rights to your spouse (including a separated spouse). These rights must be taken into consideration when you withdraw or borrow from your TSP account. Therefor(,, you must provide spousal information when,@ou apply for a loan or before you withdraw your TSP account.

Borrowing from your TSP account - If you are a married FERS participant, you must obtain the consent of your spouse before you can receive a TSP loan. Your spouse's consent does not make him or her a co-signer of your loan or obligate your spouse to repay your loan. If you are a married CSRS participant, the TSP must notify your

spouse before your loan is approved. I

Making a withdrawal election - Spouses' rights provisions apply only to withdrawal elections for TSP accounts that are more than $3,500. If yi:)u are a married FERS participant, your spouse must waive his or her right to a survivor annuity if you choose a withdrawal method other than ajoint life annuity with your spouse, with 50 percent survivor benefit, level payments, and no cash refund 1'eature. If your spouse does not waive his or her rights to the prescribed annuity, you cannot withdraw your account by any other method. If you do not elect the prescribed annuity or obtain your spouse's waiver by the date on which you are required to make an election, the Executive Director must purchase ajoint and survivor annuity for you and your spouse with your TSP account. See "How long can I leave my money in the TSP?" on page 31.

If you are a married CSRS participant, the TSP must notify your spouse before you withdr your account.

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Are there any exceptions to the spouses' rights requirements?

Under certain circumstances an exception may be granted to the spouses' fights requirements. To apply for an exception, complete Form TSP-16, Exception to Spousal Requirements, and submit it with the required documentation to the TSP Ser-vice Office at the address on the form. You can get Form TSP-16 from your personnel office.

The following chart summarizes the TSP spousal requirements and the exceptions to these requirements.

Spouse's Rights

Activity Classification Requirement Exceptions

Withdrawal FERS Spouse is entitled to Whereabouts a joint life annuity unknown or with 50% survivor exceptional benefit, level circumstances payments, and no cash refund feature unless he or she waives this right.

Withdrawal CSRS TSP must notify Whereabouts spouse of the unknown participant's election before withdrawal.

Loan FERS Spouse must give Whereabouts written consent to unknown or the loan. exceptional circumstances

Loan CSRS TSP must notify Whereabouts spouse of the unknown participant's loan application.

Note: The criteria for a claim on the basis of exceptional circumstances are strict. The fact that there is a separation agreement, a prenuptial agreement, a protective or restraining order, or a divorce petition does not in itself support a claim of exceptional circumstances. For more information on establishing an exception to the spouses' rights requirements, see Form TSP-16.

How does a court order affect my account?

In addition to the above spouses' rights provisions, your TSP account is subject to certain matrimonial court orders. These are court decrees of divorce, annulment, or legal separation, or the terms of

court-approved property settlements incident to any court decree of divorce, annulment, or legal separation which meet the requirements stated in Board regulations (found at 5 C.F.R. Part 1653, Subpart A).

Your account is also subject to the enforcement of your legal obligations to make alimony and child support payments, and to safisfyjudgments against you for child abuse.

You cannot make a decision concerning your account that will conflict with a qualifying court order obtained by your spouse or former spouse. In order to authorize payment from your account, a qualifying court order must clearly identify your TSP account, and must express the award to your spouse, former spouse, or other party in such a that the amount can be definitively calculated.

To find out more about court orders, ask your personnel office for the TSP booklet Inf tion About Cou7t Orders.