By Henry F. Lewis on July 16, 2020
When spouses choose to divorce, there are various issues that will need to be settled. Primary concerns include the division of assets, child custody, and child and/or spousal support. While it can always be difficult to come to agreeable arrangements, matters tend to be particularly complex in a military divorce.
The military lifestyle involves frequent moves and potential deployments, often requiring the military spouse to spend substantial time away from home. This needs to be taken into consideration when settling divorce matters. Divorce lawyers Michael A. Gardner and Henry F. Lewis can help individuals from the Oakland, CA area navigate the unique aspects of a military divorce.
Division of Assets
One of the key aspects of a divorce is determining how the couple’s assets will be divided between the two spouses. Assets include liquid assets, or cash on hand, as well as any owned property, and any retirement accounts.
Dividing property and liquid assets tends to be simple, since each spouse is typically due half of the financial value. However, dividing retirement accounts can be a little more complicated. All military members who provide at least 20 years of service are due a retirement pension for the rest of their lives. Even though the pension serves as compensation for time served, the spouse of a military service member may also have a right to part of the pension in the event of a divorce.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, which was passed in 1982, determined that military pension should be treated as marital property. Spouses who are married to a military service member for 10 years or more have a right to half of the military pension, though this is negotiable based on other details of the marriage.
When our Oakland clients have children, child custody is often their primary concern in a divorce. In a typical divorce, the court usually leans towards a shared custody arrangement that gives both parents an equal amount of time with the child. However, custody arrangements in a military divorce may be different. Moves and deployments can make it difficult for spouses to share equal custody. It is much more likely in a military divorce that the non-service member will be granted primary physical custody, since this gives the children a sense of stability, but again, this may vary based on other details of the divorce.
Child and/or Spousal Support
Child and spousal support are court ordered payments. Child support payments are generally calculated by taking into account the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, as well as the income of each spouse. If one spouse has primary custody of the children, the other spouse will be responsible for providing sufficient financial support. Military income can fluctuate based on deployments, transfer orders, and other factors, so this should be taken into account when determining support payments.
Spousal support is often another important aspect of a divorce. Due to the military lifestyle, it is not uncommon for the non-service member to be unemployed. Many put their education and/or career on hold to support the military lifestyle. In situations like these, the service member may be ordered to provide spousal support payments so that the other spouse is able to maintain the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to, at least until they are able to complete their education or find a suitable career.
Schedule a Consultation
The divorce lawyers at Gardner & Lewis, LLP understand the unique matters that need to be considered in a military divorce. If you are a military service member, or the spouse of a service member, and you are considering a divorce, our lawyers can help. To discuss your situation in further detail, call our Oakland law firm at (510) 451-4822 or schedule an appointment online.
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“The needs of your family are always at the forefront of our legal services. Whether through litigation or mediation, we believe that reaching a fair, efficient solution with minimal negative impact to your family is of the utmost importance.” Henry F. Lewis