Civilian divorces are challenging and draining in many ways. Military divorces can be even more complex as they rely on several laws addressing divorce and divide their property. Where and how you can file for divorce and what happens to your assets are different from civilian divorces. You need a divorce attorney who is well-versed in handling all aspects of military divorces. They can help you gain a better understanding of the military divorce process, the steps that you need to take, and everything that will go into this process.
While civilian divorces are filed within the jurisdiction where at least one spouse lives, members of the military have a few options for filing. Your options are to:
No matter which state you choose to file your divorce, it will be the one that governs it. It does not matter where you were married; your divorce will be under the jurisdiction of the state you file in. Be aware that there is an act that protects spouses of U.S. military members. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) provides a framework for how military pay and benefits are handled during a divorce. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand how this act applies to your specific situation.
Under USFSPA, military retirement pay is considered marital property in a divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the non-military spouse will be entitled to receive some of it but that it is an option. Military retirement pay is treated like any other civilian property. It can be divided in the divorce as well as garnished for unpaid child support or military expenses.
The laws of the state where the divorce is filed will determine how property will be divided. You and your soon to be ex-spouse can come to an agreement about how your assets will be divided, including your retirement wages. However, it is ultimately up to the court to approve how the assets will be divided. By having the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney when creating your divorce agreements, you will increase the chances that the court will approve of your arrangements.
To ensure you have the best possible outcome in your military divorce, rely on an experienced divorce lawyer from Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping military families pave a new path forward after divorce, and we’d be honored to help you too. Contact us to schedule your divorce case review today.