Life in the military presents unique challenges, and unfortunately, divorce is no different. Military divorces are governed by federal as well as Colorado state laws that specify when and how service members may divorce. Divorcing troops and their spouses also face unusual practical problems when one spouse is deployed or otherwise sent away from his or her state of legal residence. If you're involved in a military divorce, it's essential to get help from an attorney with special knowledge in military family law.
Colorado Springs family-law attorney Jennifer B. James can help. I am proud to represent members of the armed forces at the USAF Academy, Ft. Carson, Schriever AFB, Peterson AFB and Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, as well as personnel from around the state of Colorado. I can represent service members and their spouses who live in Colorado, as well as legal Colorado residents whose duty takes them out of the state. In addition to representing military clients during a divorce itself, I also help with post-divorce changes to, or enforcement of, court orders.
Military Divorce Laws
Divorce is generally governed by state laws, and state law does govern most of a military divorce. But Congress has enacted several federal laws designed to protect members of the uniformed services involved in a divorce. For starters, troops on active duty who receive divorce papers from their spouses may simply put it off while they're serving and for up to 60 days after, allowing them to concentrate fully on their jobs. The military also has its own system requiring service members to pay temporary support right after a divorce is filed.
Complex federal laws and military rules apply to division of property in military divorces. Unlike civilians, military families divide pensions according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, which allows a former spouse to draw up to 50% of the service member's retired pay. Because military pay is calculated according to the number of dependents living with the service member, divorcing military families must take a pay reduction into account when calculating the income that may be divided. And because the length of a marriage determines whether you have post-divorce access to military benefits like TriCare, it may be wise in some situations to delay a divorce or pursue legal separation instead.
In addition to the unique legal concerns of a military divorce, you may also face practical concerns. For one thing, it can be difficult to serve divorce papers to someone deployed overseas. If you're at home but you've moved several times, as many military personnel do, you may be a resident of another state. In fact, you and your spouse may legally be residents of different states, even if you both live in Colorado. That means you may be able to choose the most advantageous state possible to file for divorce -- or you may need to establish legal Colorado residency before you can file anywhere.
Colorado Springs Military Family Law Attorney
Military families are used to sacrifices -- but if you're getting a military divorce, it pays to hire an advocate who understands your unique personal and legal circumstances. If you need help completing a military divorce or enforcing a judgment against a service member, contact Colorado Springs family lawyer Jennifer B. James, P.C. for help. You can reach me at (719) 473-1813 or drop by my downtown Colorado Springs offices.