Military Divorce FAQ - Marrison Family Law

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Military Divorce FAQ

With so many military installations in and around the area, Colorado Springs divorce attorneys are asked often about how eligibility for a military dependent ID card is affected by divorce. As you may know if you or a family member has ever served in the military, those who serve our country in the armed forces are entitled to a number of privileges that are not available to the public at large.

The right to enjoy some of the privileges earned for their service is shared by the dependents of the service members who are issued their own military dependent ID card. With this ID card, military dependents too can make use of various the facilities and privileges reserved for those who sacrifice so much of their lives in service to our country. I should also note here that National Guard and Reserve member dependent’s benefits might vary depending on whether or not the service member is on active duty.

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military divorceIn Colorado Springs, it's not uncommon for divorce lawyers to specialize in military divorce. There are several areas in which an experienced attorney can help clients avoid costly errors. In reality, not every family law firm has experience in this area. One way to find out if your attorney is truly skilled in military divorce is to ask specific questions. For instance, your lawyer should be able to tell you about some of the most common mistakes people make in these situations. Here are some examples.

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military_spousesPeople who live outside of the military culture may not have an honest perspective on what it is really like – particularly for women who are “married to the military.”  If you are a military wife and a military mom, your marriage and family life may be strongly influenced by your husband’s career choice, but that doesn’t mean you need to feel cheated.  In fact, many women are grateful for the sense of community that comes from being a military wife.

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attorneyA lot has been written about the legal issues surrounding military divorce, but few articles focus on preventing it.  With divorce so prevalent in the armed forces today, many couples give up too soon and go directly to a military divorce attorney.

Looking at the alarming rise in military divorce rates, it is obvious that soldiers are under extreme stress.  Multiple tours of duty, extended time away from family, traumatic experiences and a change in world views can all contribute to the rise in military divorce rates. Not surprisingly, statistics show that military divorce rates increase during and after a war.  A comparison between military divorce rates in 2001 and 2004 illustrates this point.  In 2001 there were approximately 5,600 Army divorces and in 2004 that number jumped to 10,477.  The stress of war caused military divorce rates to double during this time period, affecting all branches of the military.

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Many articles have been written about the differences between military divorce lawyers and traditional divorce lawyers, and most of these have focused on one thing – military retired pay.  But a lot of the information pertaining to division of military benefits can be found by learning about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA.)  The Act contains a special jurisdictional limitation on the power of a state court to divide retirement.

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blog-logoIf you’re in the military and getting a divorce, you may start to see the words “military divorce” associated with family law firms.  Just to be clear, a “military divorce” is not a specific proceeding; it is just the same as any other “Dissolution of Marriage” action in the state of Colorado.  It does not take place in a military courtroom, but in front of the same domestic relations judges that preside over civilian divorces.  The only reason “military divorce” is such a big part of an attorney’s practice in Colorado Springs is that the Armed Forces have such a large presence in the region.

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blog-logoGetting divorced while serving in the military?  If there is one way to determine if you are talking to the right divorce attorney, ask them to explain the steps they would take in handling your military divorce.  And even more importantly; be sure they can help you in your “jurisdiction of choice.”   A Colorado Springs military divorce attorney will have a lot of experience in the various aspects of your divorce proceedings and will be able to file motions on your behalf while you are on active duty.

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blog-logoHow can military divorce lawyers work behind the scenes on your behalf? 

If you’re worried about getting a divorce while serving on active duty in the military, you have good reason to be concerned.  Not only can it affect your skill level and concentration on the job; you may also have concerns about your military retired pay and other benefits.   In many ways, a military divorce is much different than a traditional one, plus there is the burden of knowing that something is going on back home and you cannot address it.  If you are stationed at one of the many military bases in Colorado Springs, you will soon learn that this is a great place to find military divorce lawyers. 

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blog-logoThe Colorado Springs area has been a hub for the U.S. military ever since 1942, when Camp Carson was erected shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Since then the city has attracted several other military installations, and is now home to some of the finest facilities in the nation.  Unfortunately, along with serving our country in two wars, many service members are dealing with the realities of getting divorced. 

Whether you are stationed at Peterson AFB, Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy or Schriever Air Force Base, you may be dealing with a military divorce.  One thing that is very important to understand is this: military divorce is a lot more complicated than your typical Colorado Springs divorce.  And while most Colorado Springs divorce lawyers are somewhat familiar with military divorce, not all of them are qualified to take on your case. 

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blog-logoColorado Springs based military personnel and service members who are getting divorced face a whole host of issues that the average divorcing couple doesn't need to worry about.  There are questions about military pensions, custody for active-duty service members and the effects of military relocation on parenting time.  But one of the most confusing issues to resolve is deciding on the proper jurisdiction for the divorce action.  If you are anticipating a divorce in the near future, it makes sense to consult with a Colorado Springs military divorce lawyer before signing an Affidavit of Service or any other divorce papers. 

In Colorado Springs, divorce lawyers are often asked questions about jurisdiction in a military divorce.  Since this can be such a confusing topic, I will outline the basics here.  

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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