Active Military and Seeking a Divorce in Maryland?

What to Consider When Hiring a Maryland Military Divorce Lawyer

Deciding to call it quits with your spouse may feel like the end of everything. However, divorce is just the start of the next phase of your life. If you serve in the military, there are essential aspects to consider during your divorce. You need an attorney familiar with the unique elements of divorces involving an active military member.

Learn below what to look for in your divorce attorney when you are active military. Then, talk to our Maryland military divorce attorneys at Shah & Kishore today for more information.

Divorces involving an active military member have additional complexities. You should look for an attorney that has the following attributes:

Can Answer Military-Related Divorce Questions

Most divorces are stressful, and there are many serious issues to address. But when you add in the complexity of military regulations and rules, it can seem even more challenging. The good news is that a skilled military divorce attorney can help you handle everything without all of the emotions that you are feeling.

Your attorney can also address the most common questions in military divorces. For example, how will your divorce move forward when at least one spouse is actively serving? How will your assets and properties be divided? How will child custody be decided when one or both spouses are on active duty?

Knows How Different Military Divorces Are

People in the military are required to obey different divorce rules than civilians. For example, you are exempt from having a default judgment entered against you if you are actively serving. This is if you do not respond when your spouse sends you divorce papers.

In divorces, the person who is served divorce papers must respond by filing an answer and is also able to file a counter-petition. If they do not file an answer, a default judgment can be entered where you have no input on the final terms entered by the Court. 

Familiar With Military-Related Child Custody And Support Factors

In a military divorce, child visitation, support, and custody is done in the children’s best interests. This is the same as in a civilian divorce. However, child custody is more complex because the service member may have to report for duty at any time. They also may need to move out of state often due to their active military status.

So, you should have an attorney who understands these various aspects that apply in a  divorce when one or both parties are active military. 

Some examples of child-related provisions in a military divorce are:

  • Dates and times when the service member can talk to their children by phone or video call.
  • Additional time for the service member to spend with the kids when they are on leave.
  • Custodial rights for the parents when the member is on duty.
  • Annual consideration of the visitation schedule based on current military orders and the member’s training schedule.

Understands The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)

One of the most challenging parts of a military divorce is the fair division of money and property. Spouses of military members are usually entitled to 50% of the person’s retired military pay that was acquired during the marriage.

However, the USFSPA exempts a former spouse from any part of the military member’s pay, disability pay, and combat-related payments. A Maryland divorce lawyer familiar with military divorces will ensure property division is done fairly.

Understands The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The SCRA safeguards the rights of active-duty personnel. The Act exists because some active-duty members cannot provide an answer to the divorce papers within the standard time frame. Also, the SCRA may entitle the active-duty military member to postpone the divorce if being on active duty prevents them from going to court. The Act also protects against a default judgment if they cannot respond promptly to a divorce petition.

Knows What Military Spouses Can Receive In A Divorce

Some people think that if married to a military service member for a decade, they are entitled to 50% of their pension. This is untrue; no federal law states that you are entitled to half of your spouse’s military pension after 10 years. The former Spouses Protection Act states that retirement pay will be divided in a divorce according to state law where the divorce is granted.

Maryland is an equitable property state, so a 50/50 split is not guaranteed during a divorce. 

Knows How To Determine Military Retirement Compensation

Many divorce lawyers believe military retirement pay is determined by years of service. This is untrue. Instead, it is determined by a complicated point system.

For example, suppose you can receive 75% of your base pay after 30 years of service. Your ex-spouse would be entitled to 50% of your pay after divorce. This assumes you were married for 30 years. However, things get complex when the non-military spouse has been married to you for less than 30 years.

Military retirement pay division is also complicated when you marry after joining the military. In this situation, the non-military spouse would only receive 50% of your retirement pay when you were married and in the military simultaneously. Again, your attorney must understand these complexities, so you receive a fair portion of your military pension.

Understand Military Health Insurance

May non-military spouses are concerned about their health insurance after a military-related divorce. How will they get insurance? You can sign up for a temporary healthcare plan that will keep you covered in the short term while you find other arrangements. Your attorney can help you navigate this complex legal landscape.

Contact Our Maryland Divorce Attorneys

If you are active military and want a divorce, you must choose your attorney carefully. Fortunately, our divorce lawyers in Maryland have experience working with active military individuals who have gone thru the divorce process in Maryland.  Please contact our Maryland divorce attorneys at Shah & Kishore today at (301) 315-0001 to discuss your marital situation.

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