Important Information You Should Know If You Are a Service Veteran Requiring Family Law Services
When service veterans make the decision to begin a divorce action, the first question I am asked is “How do we define the marital assets and what can be divided?” The general rule is that all items considered “martial property” are divisible; a definition we get from the law. There are exceptions to this rule, so the answer is usually slightly different for each individual client. This becomes even a bit more complicated when both parties are service members.
This becomes an issue when dealing with military retirement benefits. Military retirement benefits are subject to division as marital property, military disability payments however, are not. These two intersect when a service person opts to change his or her retirement payout into disability payments. What a spouse previously thought he or she was entitled to could now be protected property. It is important to know what is classified as what type of benefit and plan for an unexpected change.
Another potential problem for spouses in the service is determining where to file for divorce. Many military families move around a lot and do not necessarily meet the minimum time requirement to establish residency in order to file. For such couples, there is a presumption that where they enlisted can be used and is their home jurisdiction. Unless there is clear evidence that the couple intended to permanently reside elsewhere.
There are, of course, additional considerations and I strongly urge you to call our office for a no-obligation consultation regarding your decision to file a divorce action. Child custody, shared parenting and child support are obvious issues when children are involved. As a former military officer and JAG attorney I am very familiar with military family issues and spend much of time working with service veterans regarding a host of legal issues including divorce and related family law matter, denied VA benefits claims, disability and other legal matters that can be very specific to service vets and their families. Please call 863-393-9010 to schedule your consultation with Mark McMann, P.A. as soon as possible.