Trying to get a divorce as a military man without the aid of military divorce lawyers can be complicated. There are civil and military laws and regulations that will affect the outcome of your divorce—and experience counts. At Divorce Lawyers for Men, we are well versed in the local, federal and military laws that apply to military personnel living in Washington state.
Understanding the Special Challenges You Face
Not all divorce lawyers will understand the special challenges that you face during a military divorce. There are both federal laws and state laws at work, as well as civil and military processes involved. Navigating them takes skilled military divorce lawyers with a specialty in divorce law and military codes.
In a civilian divorce, the main issues often revolve around child custody, child support, or spousal support. For military personnel these issues apply, but there are also several added layers of laws, rules, codes, standards, and procedures that are unique to men going through divorce who are in the military, or who have spouses who have served or are currently serving.
Your Military Benefits
There are some civilian couples that have to decide what to do about their accrued benefits —like retirement income or medical insurance. When it comes to adjudicating military divorces, what to do about your military benefits is often the primary issue at hand.
Our expert team of military divorce lawyers has broad knowledge in military divorce law, federal military law, and state law governing divorce and custody for military personnel. Below is a quick overview of two of the agencies that control military benefits and how they apply to divorce in the State of Washington.
#1. The USFSPA
Responsible for determining retirement and disability benefits for divorced service members, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act gives each state the option to determine the proper distribution of marital assets according to each state’s own divorce law.
#2. The DFAS
The DFAS is the accounting department for the U.S. Defense Department. The DFAS issues payout benefits on behalf of the USFSPA.
What Happens with Survivor Benefits?
Your ex-spouse does not automatically get your survivor benefits if you die after your divorce, but your benefits are considered community property at the time of your divorce. Military benefits are not paid out until after retirement. You can keep your ex-spouse as a beneficiary or transfer your benefits to your children or other relatives.
If you remarry, but fail to remove your former spouse, your spouse at the time of your death will not get your survivor benefits —your ex-spouse will.
Do Ex-Spouses Retain Military Retirement Benefits?
Your ex-spouse is only entitled to half or less of your military retirement benefits if you divorce after you are already retired. If you divorce before you are of age to receive your military retirement benefits, only the amount accrued while you were married as a service member will be counted as community property at the time of your divorce.
Military retirement payments to former spouses end once the military service member dies. There are important deadlines for benefit election and payment issuance that you will need to discuss with a qualified military divorce lawyer.
Are Disability Benefits a Community Asset?
Federal law disallows military disability benefits from being counted as community property in a divorce. Disability is deemed not disposable under the USFSPA and is deducted from any retirement benefits that are due to former spouses. However, it is important to note that disability is calculated as part of your income when deciding child support amounts.
Military Consequences for Failing to Meet Financial Support Obligations
The military enforces a code of ethics for men serving in the military in terms of meeting their financial support obligations to their families. These are obligations above and beyond state-settled spousal and child support orders. If you fail to meet your financial support obligations it is a violation of the UCMJ, and you could be brought up on military charges or have your wages garnished.
Accusations of Domestic Violence could End Your Military Career
Whether the accusations are true or not, any charges of domestic violence could get you kicked out of the military and you will likely lose all of your benefits. Military divorce lawyers act as the middle person in contentious military divorces so that you are properly represented.
Protecting Child Custody Rights for Military Men
We’ve really just skimmed the surface of why you need skilled military divorce lawyers to protect your custody rights. Divorce Lawyers for Men will give you the expert advice you need to understand:
- Federal laws and statutes governing military divorce
- How jurisdiction affects your military divorce
- and the benefits of filing for divorce in the State of Washington
Let us help you settle your child custody matters and explain all of the important things you need to know about how divorce affects you as a service member or the spouse of a service member in Washington State. Contact Divorce Lawyers for Men now to get started.