Many servicemen and women find themselves in a position where their marriages are ending. Unfortunately, when you are in an occupation that involves high stress, as well as families being separated for long periods of time, it takes a lot more effort to make a marriage work, and oftentimes it simply doesn’t work out. The military members that serve our great country have certain issues that are unique to their divorces that many civilians do not have to deal with, and thus it is important to find an attorney that is well versed in military divorce law if service member decides to end their marriage. It is important that both military members as well as military spouses are protected.
The first issue that comes up in military divorces that usually isn’t a large issue in civilian divorces is the issue of residency. Many attorneys, and even some Judges, don’t know where the proper jurisdiction is for a military divorce. Military members often times are stationed in a state outside of their state of residence. Because personal jurisdiction is an important factor in any divorce that involves a division of property or support, it is essential that the divorce is filed in a jurisdiction that will have personal jurisdiction over the service member. Many attorneys are not certain which jurisdictions qualify, and it is unique to every case.
Another major issue in military divorces has to do with military retirement. Attorneys that are not well versed in military divorces often don’t know much about military retirement. They don’t know what it takes to qualify for military retired pay, who is qualified to receive payments of military retirement pay directly from DFAS, or many other important issues that surround military retirement accounts.
A final issue that comes up in military divorces has to do with military pay and the service member’s “LES statement”, or, Leave and Earnings statement. If an attorney is not well versed in military divorce, they won’t know how to read these statements. They won’t know what “BAH” is, or how much, if any, can be used for payment of support. They also likely won’t know the service member’s tax obligations.
Any attorney that is well versed in divorce can divorce a service member or their spouse. However, it is advantageous to both the service member and the spouse to obtain an attorney that is more familiar with military divorce because they are knowledgeable about the circumstances that are unique to military divorces. The attorneys at our firm handle many military divorces and are very familiar with the unique issues that arise with service members and their families. If you are a service member or a military spouse that is contemplating or currently involved in a divorce and needs legal counsel, please call our office to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.