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Military Divorce

Knowledgeable Charlottesville Attorneys Help with Military Divorces

Experienced counselors advise on special legal requirements

Members of the U.S. military have the same right to get divorced as anyone else, but there are unique rules and considerations that apply. This is true whether both spouses are active duty service members or if one is a civilian. At Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C., we are well-versed in the laws pertaining to military divorce. From our offices in Charlottesville, Palmyra and Harrisonburg, we work to protect the interests of service members in regard to property division, alimony, child support and other matters.

Seasoned legal professionals help with division of military assets

Property division during a military divorce is governed by both federal and state laws. Virginia is an equitable property state, which means marital assets and property are split fairly, though not necessarily equally. Under the law, courts can consider military pay as property rather than income. Our lawyers work carefully to obtain fair arrangements for the division of:

  • Military pensions — There are several ways in which a military pension can be divided to provide for a former spouse. Often, a court will consider the amount of time that a couple was married during the service member’s active duty, so as to award payments based only on the amount of a pension plan that was accrued during the marriage.
  • Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP) — Within one year of a divorce being finalized, and as long as the marriage lasted at least one year, a former spouse of a retired military member can seek Survivor Benefit Plans coverage by filing the divorce decree with the Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). SBP can provide a monthly pension of up to 55 percent of the service member’s gross retired pay if it is ordered or agreed upon.
  • Thrift Savings Plans (TSP) — During a divorce, a court order can be made for a specific dollar amount or a set portion of a thrift savings plan account to be awarded to a spouse. Until the amount is paid or the order is otherwise resolved, no other withdrawals or loans can be taken from the TSP account.

We will carefully examine the specifics of your case so we can provide informed and assertive advocacy on your behalf.

Dedicated lawyers seek fair alimony and child support arrangements

In Virginia, spousal support and child support payments are calculated the same way for military members as they are for civilians. Support awards may not exceed 60 percent of a service member’s pay and allowances. In making support decisions, judges may consider the length of the marriage, each spouse’s career and educational opportunities, each spouse’s financial ability and the needs of children, among other factors. There are special circumstances to consider, as the military lifestyle may involve frequent relocations and long deployments that limit a civilian spouse’s ability to maintain a career.

Informed attorneys counsel clients on rules specific to Virginia

According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, the armed forces are encouraged to accept each state’s rules and laws governing divorce, child custody, alimony and division of benefits, such as military pay and pensions.

Virginia law requires at least one spouse to have lived in the commonwealth for at least six months and to intend to remain there indefinitely before starting the divorce process. If a service member has been stationed in Virginia for six months or more, the intent-to-stay stipulation is not a factor.

Federal law protects members of the armed forces from default judgments while they are on duty and incapable of responding to petitions. Virginia requires service members to be served in person, and divorce proceedings can be postponed for up to 60 days after the service member’s active duty concludes.

Contact accomplished Virginia military divorce attorneys

We care. We fight. We help our clients put their lives back together. To work with a knowledgeable Virginia military divorce attorney at Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C., call us at 434-973-7474 or contact us online. We have offices in Charlottesville, Palmyra and Harrisonburg.

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