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Kent Military Divorce

Top Military Divorce Attorneys In Kent Protect Your Rights

Understanding military divorce in Kent involves navigating state and federal laws. Factors like military pensions, benefits, and the potential for one or both spouses to be stationed in different jurisdictions or overseas cause complexities, making such cases unique compared to civilian divorces. Let’s delve into how Washington State handles military divorces.

Washington State Laws Impacting Military Divorce

Washington State treats military divorces similarly to civilian divorces in many respects, including the grounds for divorce, division of property, and considerations for child custody and support. However, specific aspects of military service require special consideration:

  • Residency Requirements: Under Washington law, more specifically the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Title 26, a military member or their spouse can legally file for divorce in the state if the military member is stationed in it. The state does not impose a specific residency duration before filing for divorce, making it more accessible for military families who may move frequently.
  • Division Of Military Pensions: In Washington State, military pensions are considered marital property, and thus, they are subject to division upon divorce, as per RCW 26.16.020 and RCW 26.09.080. Both state law and federal regulations guide the division of these pensions.
Federal Laws That Protect Military Families During Divorce

Federal laws provide additional layers of protection and guidelines for military divorces, particularly concerning the division of military pensions and benefits:

  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active-duty military members facing divorce proceedings. Among other provisions, the SCRA allows for the postponement of legal proceedings if military service affects the service member's ability to participate in the divorce process.
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) grants state courts the authority to consider military retirement pay as divisible property rather than income, making it subject to distribution in divorce proceedings. Moreover, it provides a mechanism for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to directly pay a portion of a military retiree's pay to the former spouse under certain conditions.

While federal laws leave child support and custody arrangements to state law, military regulations require service members to support their dependents, and the potential for deployment can affect custody arrangements. King County courts strive to balance the servicemember's duties with the child's best interests.

When navigating a military divorce in Washington State, both parties must understand the interplay between state and federal laws that govern aspects like residency requirements, the division of military pensions, and protections for active-duty service members. Given the complexities, consulting with an attorney specializing in military divorces and familiar with Washington State and federal statutes is highly recommended. This specialized legal guidance can ensure that the divorce proceedings account for the unique circumstances of military service while protecting the rights and interests of both spouses.

How Does Military Service Impact Child Support And Custody?

Military service can significantly impact child support and custody arrangements in Washington State due to the unique demands of military life, including deployments, relocations, and other service-related commitments. Here's how military service can influence these critical family law issues:

Child Support
  • Calculation Of Support: Military service members' child support obligations are calculated based on their total income, which includes basic pay, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), and any special pay or bonuses. Washington State's child support guidelines (RCW 26.19) apply to service members just as they do to civilian parents, ensuring that support amounts are fair and reflect the service member's ability to pay.
  • Adjustments Due To Deployment: Deployments and changes in duty stations can affect a service member's income and, consequently, their child support obligations. Washington courts have the authority to modify child support orders whenever a significant change in circumstances occurs, including changes related to military service.
  • Enforcement: Child support enforcement can involve additional mechanisms for military members, such as wage garnishment through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Federal laws, like the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), facilitate enforcing child support orders across state lines and even internationally.
Child Custody And Visitation
  • Impact Of Deployment On Custody Arrangements: Military deployments, relocations, and service demands can challenge traditional custody and visitation arrangements. To accommodate the unique aspects of military service, Washington State recognizes the need for flexibility in custody agreements. While the best interests of the child remain paramount, King County courts can make temporary modifications to custody and visitation orders during a parent's deployment, ensuring that the child's welfare and the service member's rights are protected.
  • Parenting Plans: In Washington, custody and visitation are addressed through parenting plans (RCW 26.09.181), which outline how parents will share care and decision-making responsibilities for their children. For military parents, these plans can include provisions for communication during deployments, mechanisms for adjusting residential schedules based on military commitments, and contingencies for reassignment to new duty stations.
  • Protection Under The SCRA: The SCRA protects active-duty military members involved in custody disputes, including the potential to stay in court proceedings if military service prevents the service member from participating.
  • Relocation: Military families often face relocations, which can complicate custody arrangements. While Washington's relocation law (RCW 26.09.405-560) requires the relocating parent to provide notice, courts will consider the necessity of military relocations differently than civilian moves in making determinations about custody and visitation.

To accommodate the demands placed on service members, military service requires careful consideration in child support and custody matters to ensure that arrangements are just, equitable, and flexible enough. Legal guidance is often necessary to navigate these complexities, balance the child's interests with the realities of military service, and ensure compliance with Washington State and federal laws.

How A Military Divorce Attorney Fights For Your Rights

A military divorce attorney specializes in navigating the complexities of divorces involving one or more service members. Their expertise is crucial in addressing the unique legal challenges that military families face during the dissolution of a marriage. Here's how they will fight for your rights:

  1. Understanding Military Benefits And Pensions: Military divorce attorneys have in-depth knowledge of handling military pensions, healthcare, and other benefits during a divorce. They ensure that King County courts divide these assets fairly, considering state laws and federal statutes like USFSPA.
  2. Expertise In Jurisdictional Issues: They can determine the most favorable and appropriate jurisdiction for filing the divorce, which can significantly impact the divorce proceedings. Jurisdictional issues include understanding the implications of where to file for divorce, considering state laws, the service member's domicile, and the marital home's location.
  3. Handling Custody And Visitation Challenges: Military divorce attorneys are skilled in negotiating parenting plans that accommodate the unique demands of military service, such as deployments and relocations. They strive to create agreements that maintain the service member's relationship with their children while also considering the children's best interests.
  4. Protection Under The SCRA: Active-duty service members can utilize the protections offered by the SCRA to prevent default judgments or the forfeiture of specific rights if they cannot participate in court proceedings due to their military obligations.
  5. Addressing Child Support And Spousal Support: Military divorce attorneys know how to calculate child support and spousal maintenance by accurately assessing a service member's income, which may include base pay, BAH, BAS, and other military allowances and benefits.
  6. Negotiating And Litigating With Knowledge Of Military Life: Their familiarity with military life grants them an advantage: they can effectively communicate and negotiate with the opposing party and represent their client in court. They bring a nuanced understanding of military culture and the stresses of military life to their advocacy.
  7. Modification And Enforcement Of Orders: Military divorce attorneys can assist with modifying child support, custody, and visitation orders in response to changes in military orders, deployments, or other significant life changes. They also know how to enforce these orders through military channels and civilian courts.
  8. Guidance On Post-Divorce Military Benefits: Based on the 20/20/20 rule and other criteria, they advise on continued eligibility for military benefits, including TRICARE and commissary privileges.

By hiring a Kent military divorce attorney, service members or their spouses ensure they have an advocate fully versed in the nuances of military service and family law. This expertise is essential for protecting their rights, securing their financial future, and achieving a fair outcome in the divorce proceedings.

Hire Kent Attorneys Specializing In Military Divorce

As military divorce attorneys dedicated to representing service members stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap near Kent, Washington, we bring extensive experience and knowledge in navigating the complexities of military divorce. Our expertise in the USFSPA, SCRA, and other relevant laws ensures that we protect your interests. We understand military personnel's challenges during a divorce and are committed to fighting tirelessly in King County courts on your behalf. Start securing your rights and future, and schedule a free consultation with us today. Our team is here to support you every step of the way.

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