Learn The Facts About Getting A Divorce In The Military
The decision to get a divorce should be made only after two people have exhausted every opportunity to make their marriage work. When children are involved this is even more important. If you are convinced that you need to get a divorce there are many things you need to know. The decisions you make now will have longstanding ramifications. You need to consult with an experienced military divorce lawyer to learn the facts surrounding your decision.
High conflict relationships, especially when it escalates into divorce, can pose threats of physical harm. If you believe yourself or your children are at risk of harm you need to act now. Call our office to speak with a divorce lawyer about getting a Temporary Protective Order (Restraining Order).
Military Divorce Lawyers
The Taylor Law Group is very experienced in managing military divorces. We work with clients, military personnel and spouses, in all branches of service. Whether it is a contested divorce or uncontested divorce, we can help you with your situation. Our law firm also provides post-divorce services for modifications, contempt and related matters. To arrange a consultation simply call 678-738-0056 or contact us online.
Military Divorce Laws
Generally speaking getting a divorce in the military is the same as any divorce in your state of residence. When filing for divorce in Georgia you will need to cite one or more of the grounds for divorce in Georgia. There are however, certain laws and processes that are unique to the military divorce process. Some of these are applied only when the divorcing parties cannot reach an agreement on their own. The areas where military divorces are unique include:
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Retirement and Pension Division
Divorce In The Military With Children
Firstly, it is important to confirm that a military parent can have primary custody of children. While each state has guidelines for child custody, Georgia requires divorcing parents to have a “Parenting Plan” that defines custodial arrangements and terms. The Parenting Plan is written to provide a customized solution that meets the needs of parents and children.
Military parents should develop a Parenting Plan that considers all normal situations, and also what happens in the event of deployment or extended assignment to remote duty stations. Certainly child custody arrangements can be changed by a divorce modification process however; good foresight can address many future changes in circumstances. This is an area where you can receive great benefits from working with an experienced military divorce lawyer.
Federal and Georgia state laws have requirements to address the responsibility of both parents to provide financial support of their children. Georgia has what is considered to be one of the best formulas on how to determine child support payments. In Georgia, a judge has certain latitude in determining child support. Some divorcing military parents may choose to reference existing military regulations for child support. The actual amounts of child support vary by branch of service. Using these guidelines is especially useful during separation to help alleviate financial hardships on the custodial parent.
Garnishment orders are sometimes used to affect prompt payment of child support. A garnishment order means the paycheck of the military parent will have the amount of child support automatically deducted each month. To be placed in effect the court order is sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) office. A garnishment order cannot be stopped or changed except by another formal, and subsequent, court order. Your military divorce attorney can assist you in placing, changing and terminating garnishments.
Military Divorce And Retirement
FSPA And The Division Of Retirement Pay
Division of a military retirement pension is not a guaranteed part of a military divorce. Georgia divorce laws do provide for “equitable distribution” however; even this has guidelines and limits. Additionally the federal government, through the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), addresses how military retirement benefits are measured and divided in a military divorce. Federal laws provide for the division and distribution of military retirement pensions to a spouse only when they have been married 10 years or more, and while the military member has been on active duty.
Dividing reserve retired pay is based on effectively the same basis as active duty retired pay however; there is one notable difference. Dividing reserved retirement pensions uses a method based on retirement points instead of months. There are a few more considerations that can affect how a reservists retirement pension may be divided and distributed to a spouse.
If you want a real assessment of your situation, call our office to meet with a military divorce lawyer or contact us online.
Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
A military retirement pension stops upon death of the service member. The Survivor Benefit Plan is an annuity that pays a designated beneficiary when the retired service personnel dies.
State courts have the option to order the service member to participate in SBP with the former spouse designated as the beneficiary. When the former spouse is designated as the SBP beneficiary and the agreement is incorporated in or ratified by a court order, the service member may NOT change beneficiaries without written concurrence from the former spouse.
The Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan is similar to the SBP for active duty personnel. A former spouse loses SBP eligibility if they remarry before age 55 years of age. If the former spouse ends the remarriage the former eligibility is reinstated. A spouse who remarries after age 55 does not lose eligibility. There is a formal process to apply for and be approved to receive these benefits. As experienced military divorce lawyers we can help you with this process.