I also work for the Federal government at the time of my divorce I had 10 years non-marital and 20 years marital. Right now, I plan on working another 10 years.
I can tell you that the actuary thought I was crazy to even attempt to buy him out. One difference between our cases is that he did not have any retirement to offset mine.
I had three different actuarial companies evaluate my retirement and, based on their estimates, his portion would have been between $250,000 and $350,000. I still offered to buy him out and he refused. His accountant felt his portion of my retirement was $1.5M. Yeh, right. So we had the COAP written giving him a percentage of my retirement when I retire. That is the law in Illinois unless we can agree to a payoff amount.
If I work 30 years he get 1/3 (10 years non-marital and 20 years marital = 2/3 of the retirement is marital and he gets 1/2 of that) and if I work 40 years he gets 1/4 (20 marital years and 20 non-marital years = 1/2 of the retirement is marital and he gets 1/2 of that). Additionally, if he wants a spousal annuity upon my death he must pay for it out of his share. In the Federal government if you choose to provide an annuity for your spouse after your death this is called a spousal annuity. OPM reduces the amount of your retirement if your choose this option at retirement. Itís about a 10% reduction. Say I get $9,000 per month in retirement after 40 years of service, I would get $6,750 (75%) and he would get $2,250 (25%) then if he wanted to continue to get any retirement after my death it would cost him about $900 per month so his net payment would be $1,350 per month.
So what the actuary told me is that it makes more sense to give him $1,350 per month in 10 years (heíll be 70 years old then) rather than pay him about $300,000 now. He does have in the COAP that upon his death, his portion of the retirement will continue to be paid to his estate. That will only be true if he chooses the spousal annuity. If he doesnít choose it, that portion would come back to me.
Since every case is different and each state has different laws, my advice to you is to hire a retirement consulting company (it cost me about $350) and have them lay all the facts out and then make your decision. There is a company in PA that was very good, I think they are called Pension Consultants (you can google them).