San Luis Obispo Military Divorce Lawyer
Santa Maria Divorce Attorney
For many military couples, managing a divorce amongst the constant chaos of deployments, children and other responsibilities can be stressful. Legally, divorcing military couples follow the same procedures as a civilian couple when filing for divorce. However, depending on how long you and your spouse were married, and how long your military spouse was in the military, there could be unique legal issues a Santa Maria divorce attorney familiar with military divorce should assist you with.
Service Members Civil Relief Act and Divorce
The Service Members’ Civil Relief Act was designed to provide military personnel with a range of protections should they be called to active duty. With regard to divorce proceedings, service members have the option to pause or “stay” the civil court or administrative proceedings if they are able to prove that their deployment or call to duty prevents them from asserting or protecting their legal right. A judge must consider this and find good cause to justify the stay. If a judge does find reasons to pause the proceedings, the judge must give a minimum of 90 days.
Divorce and the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
This law provides benefits to former spouses of military members. The act provides a federal statute for military to refer to the state statute on pay and pension. This allows retirements and pension plans to become another marital asset. Additionally, the USFSPA permits the states to classify military retired pay as property instead of income.
In order for a military spouse to become eligible to receive direct retired payments, the couple has to have been married at least 10 years overlapping with 10 years of service. For example, if you were married for 15 years, but your military spouse was only in the military for 8 of those years, then the spouse would not be entitled to receive benefits.
Just because you may not qualify for the retirement payments, does not mean you are not eligible to a portion of the payments. Contact a qualified Santa Maria divorce lawyer for more information on how to include a portion of the payments in your divorce settlement.
Spousal Eligibility for Military Benefits
The length of time you were married determines whether or not you are entitled to medical benefits, commissary and exchange benefits. In order to retain all the benefits your marriage must fall under the requirements of the “20/20/20 Rule.”
- Former, unmarried spouses of military service members are eligible to receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges under the Morale Welfare and Recreation program if they are were married to the military member for at least 20 years at the time of divorce and,
- the military member was in the service for at least 20 years and,
- the former spouse was married to the member during at least 20 years the military member’s retirement-credible service
Child Support & Military Divorce
All of the military branches have regulations that require service members support their children upon separation in the absence of a court order. These regulations were designed as a temporary measure until a court order can be served.
If you’re thinking of divorcing your military spouse, or you are a military service member looking to divorce your spouse, let our Santa Luis Obispo divorce attorney navigate you through your legal concerns. We understand the how stressful and emotionally draining this time can be for you and your family and we aim to provide you with top-notch, client-focused legal services so you can be sure you are making the right decisions for your family.
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