Military Divorce Lawyers in Downers Grove Providing Knowledgeable Legal Representation
Going through a divorce process can be a difficult and stressful time in your life. But if you or your spouse is a servicemember, navigating a military divorce can come with additional circumstances and unique considerations. Unfortunately, disregarding the unique distinctions of a military divorce can prolong the divorce process and even cost you money.
Fortunately, with an experienced military divorce attorney on your side, you can navigate the military divorce process with ease while protecting your rights. Our team at The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan would be happy to assist you whether you and your spouse are both servicemembers, your spouse is a servicemember, or you are a servicemember. Contact us today for a free consultation at 630-866-8303.
Which Special Rules Apply to a Military Divorce?
When pursuing spousal separation or divorce, there are a few unique features of a military divorce to be aware of. These features can complicate military divorces and asset division, so having an experienced attorney on your side is essential to ensure you understand each point’s complexities.
Some unique considerations that differentiate a military divorce include:
In most cases, a divorce proceeding starts with one spouse filing for divorce in court. Then, the other spouse only has 30 days to answer before the divorce is automatically granted and all terms in the divorce petition are given. However, the courts recognize that active-duty military members could be deployed during the divorce proceedings. Because of this, military members have 60 days from the time they are back home to respond to a divorce petition.
Sometimes, divorce proceedings can be extended longer if the military servicemember requires it. And if the active duty spouse is deployed but does not wish to wait, they can waive their rights and respond while deployed, even if they are overseas.
In most states, the law requires either spouse to be a state resident for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. However, the courts recognize that military families may move around more than civilian families do. In a military divorce, you simply need to be stationed in the state for at least 90 days before either spouse can file for divorce.
Like in a civilian divorce, in a military divorce, the courts will examine each party’s income and assets during the divorce process. However, military members may receive military benefits that are not strictly income, like housing. A divorce attorney on our team can analyze a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) and factor that into the divorce proceedings when deciding how to split up assets.
Similarly, retirement pay and pensions can be considered marital property and may need to be divided during a divorce. However, dividing a pension as a military member or military spouse is one of the most complicated aspects of divorce. Our team can review your case and ensure that the division is just and fair.
What is a Military Spouse Entitled to in a Divorce?
During the divorce process, the court will aim to provide equitable distribution to both spouses. Any assets the couple has must be divided, and both parties must agree to the divorce terms before it is finalized.
Below are some common assets that are typically divided during a divorce:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Investment accounts
- Cars, boats, and other significant property
- Retirement accounts
Most of these assets are relatively straightforward in their division. However, dividing up a military pension is a complicated process with many regulations. Because pensions are subject to federal and state law, qualifying for spousal support from a military pension can be difficult. Contact our team today if you are unsure how your military or spouse’s pension will be divided.
How Are Military Pensions Divided in a Divorce?
Military pensions are treated as assets that can be divided during divorce. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, a former spouse can continue collecting pension money well after divorce. Ex-spouses may even be able to receive pension money as a direct payment from the military.
Generally, former spouses are entitled to any pension money accrued during the marriage because it is considered marital property. However, this is not always the case and can depend on the length of the marriage and the length of active duty of the service member.
What is the 20/20/20 Rule?
The 20/20/20 rule relates to military benefits that a former spouse can receive. In most cases, if the marriage lasted 20 years or longer, the servicemember has 20 years or more of service, and there are at least 20 years of overlap, then the former spouse can receive military benefits for a lifetime. If there are only 15 years of overlap, the former spouse can receive benefits for one year.
Similarly, the 10/10 rule determines how an ex-spouse can receive pension money after it is determined they are eligible for it. If the marriage lasted 10 years and the servicemember accrued 10 years of credible active service during that time, then the former spouse can collect payment directly from the Defense Finance and Account Service (DFAS).
Should I Hire a Military Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce proceedings can be difficult and time-consuming. A military divorce has many more rules and regulations, and splitting marital property can quickly become complicated. If you and your spouse are ending your marriage, don’t hesitate to contact a professional today. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys is here to help you expedite the divorce process to close this chapter of your life and move on. Call The Law Offices of Robert B. Buchanan at 630-866-8303 for a free consultation and to learn more about our services.