Since military divorces are governed by both federal and state law, they present different challenges and legal complexities than civilian divorces. If you are involved in a military divorce, you need an attorney who is experienced with military regulations and can help you protect your rights. I have helped military service members and their spouses for more than a decade.
Serving Military Divorce Clients Throughout Virginia
I handle cases involving:
- Domicile and residency requirements for filing and service of process
- Division of military retirement in divorce under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)
- Compliance with military rules and regulations regarding child support
- Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
- Voluntary separation incentives and special separation benefits
- The Survivor Benefit Plan
Understanding the Complexities of Virginia Military Divorce
In Virginia, even if a spouse is on active duty, they must be served personally with a copy of the divorce action and a summons. This gives a Virginia court jurisdiction over the service member. If the divorce is uncontested, the spouse on duty may not need to be served, provided they file a waiver affidavit recognizing the action is in process.
Should a divorce be filed while a member is on active duty, the divorce proceedings may be delayed until an active service member completes a tour of duty, plus two months after the completion date. The service member may waive this right, but should be aware of its existence. Laws also exist to shield active duty members being divorced without their knowledge. Those on active duty are not held in default due to non-response to a divorce petition.
Filing for a Military Divorce in Virginia
To be eligible to file for a military divorce in Virginia, you or your spouse must live in and be stationed in the state. Military divorces are granted on the same grounds as civilian divorces, but involve additional complexities. Property division in a military divorce can be tricky. Military pensions, for instance, are subject to different rules than private retirement accounts. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, the state courts will determine how a service member’s disposable retired pay is divided. In addition to the state property division laws, the federal government decides how military retirement benefits are determined and divided on the finalization of a divorce.
It is important to note that according to federal laws, military members’ retirement funds will not be divided and distributed unless the couple was married ten years or longer, or while a spouse has been active duty military.
In Virginia, child support, spousal support or alimony payments may not exceed 60 percent of a service member’s allowances and pay check. In general, traditional child support guidelines, child care plan, worksheets and schedules are used in calculating the amount of child support.
This is a complex area that I strive to simplify for those facing a divorce while deployed and for those at home. I understand how difficult this is for families caught up in this kind of turmoil, and work hard to make things as clear and easy as possible. Your case is not just another number when you come to me to help with your divorce.
My law firm focuses on your family. Contact me at my Vienna, Virginia, law office to discuss your case. I am always happy to speak with you.