If you’re in the military, special care and experience is needed from your divorce lawyer when handling your case. Here are a few things to think about when hiring a divorce lawyer to handle issues associated with you or your spouse’s military service:
- Pensions – Most divorce lawyers will encounter private pensions in their career, but military pensions require specific methods of valuation and division. In most cases, an expert should be hired to value your pension, and survivor benefits will also need to be taken into consideration. Colorado case law dictates various different methods for dividing a military pension, all of which hinge on the fundamental concept that a military pension is property that must be divided between spouses in a divorce. You or your spouse’s military pension could be the most valuable part of your divorce. Be sure that you hire a divorce lawyer that has experience dealing with military pensions, how to value them, and which method of division to use.
- Custody – Custody issues for military families can be complicated. A military lifestyle presents unique challenges to divorce lawyers, who must approach a case with an eye toward future contingency plans in the event a service member receives orders to relocate or deploy. The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act protects members of the service from having their deployment be the sole basis for a decision in a custody dispute, but it doesn’t prevent the Courts from taking deployment into consideration when they analyze what is in the best interests of your children. Be sure that your divorce lawyer takes the time to address the different custody scenarios that can take place as a result of you or your spouse’s military service.
- Child Support – If you or your spouse are in the military, your child support issues may be amplified when compared to regular civilians. This is likely because (1) military lives change more frequently than civilian lives, requiring more frequent modifications of child support; and (2) military incomes can be difficult to calculate. Divorce lawyers must pay special attention to the different levels of pay received by a member of the military, as well as housing allowances, BAS, benefits received pursuant to the GI Bill, etc. in order to accurately calculate a service member’s income. Hiring a divorce lawyer that has experience in detailed calculations of income will greatly assist you in coming to a fair and accurate child support figure.
Whether you’re dealing with the above issues, or something else unique, be sure to hire a divorce lawyer that understands how you or your spouse’s military service affects your case. Contact me for a free consultation to discuss your military issues.