Don’t Leave Your Military Divorce to Chance
Military personnel and their spouses provide a unique opportunity for our Firm here in Albuquerque, which is to do what we love (provide high-level divorce representation) for people who serve our country (and their spouses) and whom we highly respect. For us, our military clients and their spouses provide us with the best of both worlds when it comes to divorce and family law.
How We Handle Military Divorces
Military divorces involve unique legal issues in most cases. There are often issues about jurisdiction, custody, how to divide military retirement, whether payments can be made directly from DFAS, and a host of other issues that can seem daunting at first. Our divorce and family law attorneys have extensive experience handling military divorces from the perspective of the person serving as well as that person’s spouse. We bring a client-focused approach to military cases that will allow you to work through your issues in the most efficient, time-saving, cost saving, and healthy way possible.
Military Retirement Pay/Pension
There are various methods for calculating the portion of military pension to which an ex-spouse is entitled. These can include net present value and reserve jurisdiction. While the most common are reserve jurisdiction, meaning the share the ex-spouse receives is calculated at retirement, divorcing parties here in Albuquerque should discuss these various options before making a decision. If for instance, there is a possibility of a buyout up front, then the parties may choose to explore a net present value calculation. Whatever you decide, however, those terms must be stated explicitly in your divorce decree and a subsequent court order obtained dividing the military pension.
Survivor Benefits in Military Divorce
This is one area of military divorce the causes enormous problems. Spouses often believe that if they were the survivor beneficiary of the survivor benefit plan while married, they will remain so upon divorce. This is NOT correct. The survivor benefit plan is a mutually exclusive benefit that MUST be addressed in the divorce settlement, and with other documentation following the divorce within a year of the divorce.
Base Privileges after Divorce
Even after the divorce, an ex-spouse of a military member may still be eligible for base privileges such as commissary and exchange. In order for that to happen, the former spouse must qualify under the 20/20/20 rule.
Here are the requirements:
- Married to the former spouse for at least 20 years;
- The military member was in the military at least 20 years; and
- The marriage overlapped the time in service by at least 20 years.
If these criteria are met, the ex-spouse of the military member is entitled to full base privileges as long as he or she does not remarry.
TRICARE After Divorce
Just as in qualifying for continuing base privileges, the ex-spouse of a military member can also qualify for TRICARE as long as the 20/20/20 rule is met, and as long as the ex-spouse does not remarry.
How to Get Started with Your Military Divorce
When you are ready to proceed with your divorce, contact our Albuquerque office and inform our staff that you have a military divorce. We will then match you with one of our attorneys who has extensive experience in this area. Remember that you still have all the divorce options available to people who are not in the military, like mediated divorce and collaboration divorce, but everything is done with military benefits in mind.