Divorce in the Armed Forces: Retired Pay
A divorce attains the definition of a military divorce when one of the parties has been a military service member, is a reserve or guard or is active duty military. The term military divorce has no legal basis but is a casual term denoted for divorces where a military service member is involved. If you or your spouse are connected with the military and going through a divorce, contact a military divorce attorney in the Columbus GA area to get advice on the best way to proceed.
Military couples get no exemptions for their status and have to fulfill the same requirements like their civilian counterparts. Recently, certain states have relaxed their residency requirements for people on active duty service. Nevertheless, there is more probability of military divorces getting delayed rather than civilian ones. This is because if one of the spouses is on active duty assignment in far away areas or is permanently stationed overseas, divorce procedures can be put on hold.
Military does have certain affects on divorce of a couple involved in military service. There is a difference in federal law that differentiates military retired pay. You would need expert advice from a divorce attorney experienced in military divorces with regard to this. A civilian couple needs to be concerned only with state laws but a military couple would need to contend with the nuances of both state laws as well as federal laws.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is applicable to all active duty, retired as well as reserve and guard service members. Under the regulation of this act, states are allowed to pay up to 50% of the service member’s retirement pay in divorce. This can increase to 65% if there is child support ordered by court. This does not mean that 50% is necessarily awarded all the time nor does it imply that maximum award would amount to only 50%.
There have been cases where court has ordered more payment which becomes the responsibility of member. The main aim of the USFSPA is to provide for the spouse who supported military career of the other spouse faithfully and patiently. Thus military couples who want to get divorced need to find a military divorce lawyer who would interpret the USFSPA and inform you with regard to the law.
Your attorney would need certain information in the course of the discovery process and these include:
• Choice of state to file case in since some favor military member while others the spouse.
• Situation of military spouse’s service status. Whether retired or not, receiving VA compensation, disabilities pay etc.
• If on active duty the process should be valued under Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act.
• Whether military spouse is entitled separation bonuses or if he is planning to complete 20 years.
• Is the military spouse planning to transfer to reserve or guard?
As mentioned earlier retired pay presents unusual considerations in a military divorce and needs careful deciphering.