When a family law action involves a military member, several issues need special consideration, including
- Years of Service
- Years of Marriage
- Years of Service During Marriage
- Retirement Benefits
- Surviving Benefit Plan
- Early Retirement
The most dangerous trap in a divorce action involving a military member concerns the treatment of the military member's retirement benefits. While each state may have different laws regarding how military retirement benefits are to be divided, the federal government has enacted legislation titled The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) that defines the treatment of military retirement benefits.
Of particular concern in the division of military retirement benefits are the domicile or residence of the military member, the participation of the military member in the divorce proceedings, the years of service during the marriage and the protection of the former spouse pending a military member's retirement. A firm understanding of these principles and others are necessary to successfully resolve your family law action.
Additionally, child support and maintenance, and military retirement benefits in some limited circumstances, may be directly paid to a former spouse through the Defense Finance Office by means of wage assignment or allotment from the military member's monthly entitlement or retirement income.
Due to the complicated issues that may arise in a family law action involving a military member, a consultation with an attorney is recommended.