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Surviving Military Divorce: 4 Important Things You Should Know

Divorces are challenging in their own right. On top of that, the unique circumstances of military life can make them even more difficult. Military marriages are different from civilian ones for several reasons. Military spouses often have to deal with frequent moves and deployments, which can strain any marriage. Add in other stressors like being away from one another for long periods and, at times, dangerous work environments and it’s easy to see why military divorce rates are so much higher than civilian ones. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a military spouse who’s planning to get divorced. With the right knowledge, preparation, and support network you can thrive no matter what your future holds. Here are some important things you should know to help you navigate military divorce

Understanding Where To File For A Military Divorce

It is common for military personnel to move a lot making the question of where to file for a military divorce a confusing one. Military members may reside in one place, be stationed in another, or even get deployed overseas.

Due to these unique circumstances, many states have eliminated or significantly reduced the military divorce residency requirement. This allows service members or their spouses to file for divorce in a state in which they are stationed even if they are not legal residents. If you have questions regarding where to file for your divorce, call our military divorce lawyers and they will be happy to answer any of your questions.

How Are Military Benefits Divided?

The courts may also split military benefits. It’s one of the services available to the spouse of military personnel. The USFSPA (Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act) is a federal law that guarantees a number of advantages to both married and unmarried military dependents. It includes healthcare, commissaries, and exchanges, in addition to other benefits. Military employees and veterans who have been employed by the armed forces offer retirement benefits to their ex-spouses.

In divorce cases, military pensions are considered assets. The court must have jurisdiction over the military person, either by consent or by the person’s residency, in order to divide the pension. However, the court may infer consent, and this may be inferred from the military person’s involvement in the case.

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Veterans Affairs Disability Benefits Are Exempt

While divorcing partners have an opportunity to access a service person’s military pension, the same is not true with regard to VA disability benefits. VA disability benefits aren’t considered an asset during divorce proceedings. They’re legally looked upon as being different from retirement benefits, meaning that spouses have no right to them. But this doesn’t mean VA disability benefits aren’t part of the conversation during a divorce. The reason for this is that they form an important part of any discussions that concern child support. This is because they represent a replacement of salary for military personnel whose ability to work has been impacted. What this means is that the courts will use VA disability benefits to help determine if you’re able to support your children financially, something that will influence their custodial arrangements.

Active Servers Can Get Custody

Military personnel are often concerned that the nature of their job will prevent them from getting custody of their children. This isn’t true, active servers have an equal opportunity to gain custody of their kids. However, their position in the military may affect how custody is arranged as they can’t always be present. It’s critical to have a Family Care Plan in place in case of divorce. A Family Care Plan describes how the children will be cared for once a divorce is finalized, noting who will have custody and how the children will be cared for when their custodian is unable to care for them.

Meet Our Managing Team Of Experienced
Military Divorce Lawyers

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Nicholas Tootalian
Managing Partner
Denver, CO


Karlee Stoppenhagen
Managing Partner
Fort Collins, CO

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Craig Valentine
Managing Partner
Colorado Springs, CO

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced military divorce lawyers takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today!

By: MFL Team

Posted June 08, 2022

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