During a divorce, it can be difficult to understand all the unfamiliar legal proceedings and regulations while also dealing with severe emotional distress. Regardless of circumstances, it’s a difficult time for everyone involved. All divorces are stressful and emotionally challenging, and military divorces are no different. A military divorce isn’t that much more involved than a standard divorce in some areas, but the laws surrounding it are more complex, as they involve both state and federal law. It’s important to have an attorney who deals specifically with family law services like military divorces.
However, despite the similarities to a civilian divorce, there are different requirements for U.S. military members and their spouses. This relates to supporting payments, residency requirements, and the division of military retirement funds. If you are a member of the military or the spouse of a military service member, hiring a skilled attorney who has experience in military divorces can help your situation. An attorney who specializes not only in family law and family law issues but specifically has experience in military divorces like yours is incredibly important. This way, you can have someone who understands the nuances of your situation in your corner, advocating for your best interests.
Military divorces include divorce cases where either or both members of a marriage are active members of the armed forces. There are many specific considerations to be made in the case of a military divorce or military family separation. By employing an experienced military divorce attorney in Charleston, you can ensure that you have strong legal representation on these issues, from the division of property to alimony.
An attorney who understands and has experience with the law relating to military divorces is better equipped to know the specifics of your situation and how to work with them. Because military divorces are ruled by both federal and state law, there are several aspects to a military divorce that are more complicated than civilian divorces. Federal laws for military divorces, for example, determine the divisions of military pension, but state laws affect spousal support and alimony. When filing a divorce in Charleston, you want to be sure you have qualified and experienced military divorce attorneys on your side.
When you’re looking into military divorce lawyers, look to Erica Lord Law Group, which has the most experience in Charleston. We’ve been handling cases for two decades, navigating complicated and challenging divorce cases, including military divorces, giving us the expertise necessary to professionally handle your case. We know you have concerns about state and federal laws and court jurisdiction and want to help you understand your rights and how we can help you get the best legal representation.
At the Erica Lord Law Group, we pursue equity in divorces and fight to ensure that a fair outcome is reached and that you receive the best outcome possible. With our highly skilled team, you can rest assured that we will work hard on your behalf.
There are several special considerations that come with a military divorce. By having the skill and assistance of a military divorce lawyer, these issues can go more smoothly. An attorney can help determine which state you should file under and understand the division of pensions and other property.
In West Virginia, residency for any divorce requires that you or your spouse are a current resident of the state if your marriage was in West Virginia and that you or your spouse have been a resident for at least a year if the marriage was not in West Virginia.
Every case of divorce is unique, and military divorces are no different. A qualified attorney can work to understand the nuances of your situation while relying on the experience of handling circumstances similar to yours. Military divorces typically include:
These issues can greatly affect a case, and a qualified military divorce attorney knows how to deal with the issues. A lot can impact a case and the outcome, and without proper legal representation, you could find yourself losing a lot in a divorce case.
Specific to military divorces, military pensions are considered divisible as marital property, and state courts can treat them as sole or community property. In addition to this, if the former spouse is rewarded a share of the military retirement fund, it is paid by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), provided there were at least ten years of marriage and ten years of military service. Even if those years aren’t met, a spouse can still receive a share of a military pension as an offset by the court. In those cases, the payment would come from the spouse. In order to receive such benefits, you need the assistance of a qualified attorney to demonstrate your past commitment and prove your future need for it.
Spouses of former military members can also receive full commissary, medical, and exchange benefits, provided they were married for at least twenty years, the military spouse serves at least twenty years of service, and there was a fifteen-year overlap between these two periods.
Spousal support and child support also receive different treatment under military divorces. This is done to be sure support obligations are met by service members and their families after divorce. In each of these cases, it’s important that you have help from a divorce attorney who has experience with military divorces and understands how to gain your benefits. Our team at Erica Lord Law Group wants to ensure you understand what you can receive and answer any questions you may have. We can provide you with protection for financial security after divorce by advocating for all the benefits possible for you.
The court must have jurisdiction to hear the case. For a civilian spouse in a military divorce, this refers to the place they live. For military personnel, jurisdiction may be their place of legal residence, even if they don’t currently live there. Military members and their spouses can either file for divorce in the state where the filing spouse lives, the state the military spouse is stationed, or the state where the military spouse can claim legal residency, if different.
An uncontested divorce could take only 30 to 90 days, while a contested divorce could take years to work out an agreement. However, a military spouse on active duty can use the Civil Relief Act in order to delay proceedings relating to divorce or custody, which can prolong the process. A military spouse can delay legal action during active duty, plus 60 days past the end of their enlistment.
Because of how the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) handles custody and pension benefits, retirement pay is considered property rather than income. For this reason, the court may be able to ask for military retirement pay to be divided between the couple.
The Service members’ Civil Relief Act provides protections to military members. It ensures that the court is aware that the spouse is in the military and makes sure that a military spouse is aware of a divorce filed by their civilian spouse.
The complexity of a divorce case changes the price, such as whether it’s contested or uncontested and the number of assets involved. High-asset divorces often cost more. Divorce attorneys usually charge by the hour, so a longer divorce costs more, as well. No-fault divorces are often cheaper than fault-based divorces, both of which are available in West Virginia. The average cost of a military divorce lawyer is $300 an hour. This doesn’t cover additional fees for direct costs of the case.
The laws surrounding military divorces have the potential to be more complex than a standard or civilian divorce, and this can be exacerbated by other issues such as contested divorces or divorces that end in litigation. By having a skilled lawyer arguing for your best interests, you can get the best outcome possible in your military divorce. Contact Erica Lord Law Group now, and let us fight for you and support your rights in this tough situation. Our team is highly skilled, compassionate, and willing to fairly and fiercely advocate and negotiate for you in a military divorce case.