Justia Lawyer Rating
Top One
Avvo Rating 10.0 Top Attorney
Lead Counsel Rating
The National Trial Lawyers
The Avvo Clients' Choice Awards
Expertise - Seattle
The National Advocates
10 Best American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 2016
Client Champion badge
Expertise - Tacoma
Expertise - Olympia
Client Champion Platinum 2021
Best of the Best Attorneys 2023 - Divorce Law Firm
Expertise Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Everett 2021
Top 10 Family Law
Best of the Best Attorneys 2023 - Family Law Firm
Best of South Sound
American Association of Attorney Advocates - Divorce
American Association of Attorney Advocates - Family Law
2024 Judicial Edition
mylegalwin 2023 Distinguished Attorney
mylegalwin 2024 Distinguished Attorney
mylegalwin 2023 Featured Attorney
mylegalwin 2024 Featured Attorney

Auburn Military Divorce

Our Auburn Military Divorce Legal Specialists Are On Your Side

When military service members face divorce, choosing a specialized attorney is essential, as such a situation involves unique laws and regulations that differ from civilian divorces. An attorney specializing in military divorce cases is well-versed in the laws surrounding them, including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), as well as various Washington state and federal regulations that apply specifically to military personnel and their spouses.

Often, military divorces involve complex issues related to military benefits, such as pensions, healthcare, and housing allowances. An experienced Auburn military divorce attorney can help ensure you understand your rights to these benefits and work to protect them during the divorce process. They will also help you navigate the process of dividing assets such as retirement benefits, Thrift Savings Plans (TSP), and Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP), ensuring proper valuation and a fair outcome.

Other factors that complicate military divorce proceedings are deployment or relocation orders. Nonetheless, a specialized attorney can help navigate these challenges, addressing custody and visitation arrangements when one parent is frequently deployed or stationed in another location.

Service members may be stationed in different states or overseas, and these frequent relocations also impact divorce proceedings. An attorney specializing in military divorce knows how to navigate these jurisdictional issues and ensure that the divorce proceedings are in the most favorable jurisdiction for their client.

Finally, while military divorces can be emotionally challenging, especially for service members who may be dealing with the stress of deployment or combat-related issues, legal representation from a family law attorney gives military personnel access to expert guidance and emotional support.

What Is The Military Divorce Process In King County?

The military divorce process in King County, Washington follows similar procedures to civilian divorces but may involve additional considerations due to the presence of military members or their spouses. Here's an overview of the process:

Determining Jurisdiction: Identifying the court with authority over your case before initiating a divorce is crucial. In King County, the Superior Court usually handles this. Military spouses stationed elsewhere might face jurisdictional complexities, necessitating legal guidance to identify the correct court.

Filing the Divorce Petition: The divorce journey starts when one spouse (the petitioner) submits a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the King County Superior Court. To file, the petitioner or their spouse must satisfy Washington's residency criteria, typically involving a requisite duration of state residency.

Serving the Process: The petitioner must ensure the other spouse (the respondent) gets the petition and summons. For military respondents stationed away, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) may dictate special service procedures.

Responding to the Petition: The respondent must answer the petition within a set timeframe, agreeing with or disputing the divorce terms. Ignoring this can lead to a default judgment against them.

Requesting Temporary Orders: For urgent matters like child custody, support, or access to marital assets pending divorce finalization, either spouse can seek temporary orders from the court.

Engaging in Discovery: The spouses must share relevant information and documents, such as financial statements and property appraisals, in a phase known as discovery.

  1. Negotiating or Mediating: To settle disputes over asset division, alimony, child custody, and support, spouses may engage in negotiation or mediation with their lawyers' help to reach an agreement.
  2. Divorce Trial: If spouses cannot reach a settlement, the case may proceed to trial, where a King County judge will decide on unresolved issues based on the evidence presented.
  3. Divorce Finalization: Once the King County Courts resolve all issues through settlement or trial, they will issue a final divorce decree to terminate the marriage officially.

Your Auburn military divorce attorney will be with you during every step of the process.

What Legal Challenges Can I Expect During My Military Divorce?

Military divorces come with unique challenges and considerations due to military service. If you're going through a military divorce in Auburn, Washington, there are several legal challenges and factors you might encounter:

1. Jurisdiction And Understanding Where to File

Deciding where to file for divorce is the first challenge. Military families often move, so the state you file in can significantly impact the divorce proceedings. In Washington State, jurisdiction might apply if one spouse legally resides there, if it's the current stationing location of the military member, or if the service member designates it as their legal residence. Military members can maintain legal residency in one state even when stationed elsewhere, affecting state tax obligations and eligibility for divorce in a preferred jurisdiction.

2. Service Of Process On An Active Duty Spouse

Serving divorce papers to an active duty military member can be more complicated than serving a civilian. The SCRA safeguards military members during active duty, including potentially delaying court proceedings if military duties prevent the service member's participation.

3. Complexities In Dividing Military Pensions

In Washington, The USFSPA governs the military pensions division. However, the calculation and division of military pensions are complex and depend on factors such as the length of the marriage, the length of service, and the overlap between service and marriage.

4. Calculating Child Support And Alimony Accurately

Determining child support and alimony involves considering the service member's pay, which includes base pay, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), and special pay. Washington State guidelines and federal laws will influence these calculations.

5. Addressing Child Custody And Visitation Challenges

Military deployments and relocations can complicate custody arrangements and visitation schedules. Courts will consider the child's best interests but must also navigate the challenges posed by the military parent's duties.

6. How Healthcare And Other Benefits Factor Into The Divorce

Deciding on health care benefits for spouses and children, including eligibility for military benefits post-divorce, requires understanding specific rules. For example, a non-military spouse may be eligible to retain certain benefits, depending on the duration of the marriage, the service member's time in the military, and the overlap of the two.

7. Compliance With Military Regulations

Certain aspects of a military divorce, such as the division of a military pension, must comply with military regulations and federal laws.

Navigating a military divorce in Auburn, Washington requires careful consideration of state and federal laws. It's highly advisable to consult with a family law attorney experienced in military divorces to address these challenges effectively and ensure your rights and interests are fully protected.

What Should I Bring To My First Meeting With My Military Divorce Attorney?

Meeting with a military divorce attorney for the first time can feel daunting, but being prepared can help make the process smoother and more efficient. Specific documents and information will be particularly useful to your attorney. Here's what to bring to your initial consultation:

  • Identification and Basic Information: Bring your military ID, driver's license, or another form of identification. Also, have your full name, date of birth, social security number, and contact information ready.
  • Marriage Documentation: Your marriage certificate is essential. If applicable, bring any prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements as well.
  • Military Documentation: Provide your or your spouse's military identification, including rank, service dates, and benefits information. Details about deployments, duty stations, and the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) are also relevant.
  • Financial Documents: Gather financial statements, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit card statements, and other assets or liabilities. Pay stubs and tax returns for at least the past three years will be necessary for assessing income and financial standing.
  • Property And Asset Documentation: Bring documents related to real estate, vehicles, valuable personal property (jewelry, art, etc.), and business ownership. These include deeds, titles, and recent appraisals or valuations.
  • Debt Information: List all debts, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, and credit card debt. Bring along documentation for this as well.
  • Children's Information: If you have children, bring their birth certificates, social security numbers, and a summary of children, education, and medical expenses. Also, include any existing custody arrangements or child support orders.
  • Insurance Information: Provide details about life, health, and property insurance policies, including those provided by the military.
  • Legal Documents: If there are any existing legal documents related to your marriage, such as separation agreements, domestic violence protection orders, or previous divorce decrees, bring these with you.

Remember, the more information you can provide, the better equipped your attorney will be to assist you. If you cannot gather all these documents before your first meeting, don't worry. Your attorney can guide you on what's needed and how to obtain it. The key is to start the conversation and establish a clear line of communication.

Reach out to our esteemed Auburn law firm today to arrange your initial consultation with a specialized military attorney. Our expertise lies in safeguarding the interests of military families navigating through the complexities of divorce. With our profound legal knowledge and dedication, we provide the essential support you require during these challenging times.

Client Reviews
Laurie has worked on my very challenging and contentious divorce and I could not have asked for a better family law attorney. She was able to handle all of the twists and turns of my case with ease. I highly recommend Laurie to anyone looking for an excellent, ethical and hard working counselor. Chandler
Laurie is an incredible divorce lawyer! She did an amazing job with my divorce, and it was a real dog fight the whole way. She is a true fighter. And you can tell that she really cares about her family law clients and the results that she achieves for them. John
My lawyer guided me through a very challenging time in my life when I was going through my divorce. She worked hard and explained every step of the way what was going on so I could understand the process. I was very happy with her work. Barbel