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Marysville Military Divorce

Military Divorce Attorneys Representing You In Marysville

Military divorces involve a different legal landscape from civilian divorces. This is because of specific rules and regulations unique to military personnel, which can impact the division of military benefits, child custody arrangements, and the calculation of spousal support.

Our Marysville legal team specializes in divorce for military members. We understand how both federal and Washington state laws impact your case, so you can count on us to provide compassionate and knowledgeable guidance to protect your rights and your family.

Understanding Your Rights Under The (USFSPA) Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act

The United States Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) oversees military retirement benefits in divorce cases. It was enacted in 1982 for several reasons: to provide a mechanism for the equitable division of military retirement benefits upon divorce, recognize the contributions of military spouses to the marriage, and ensure they receive a fair portion of the retirement benefits accumulated during their marriage.

Under the USFSPA, military retirement pay is property subject to division in divorce proceedings, allowing Snohomish County courts to treat it as marital property. Therefore, it can be included in the overall division of assets between divorcing spouses.

One of the USFSPA’s provisions outlines the "10/10 rule," which allows former spouses to receive direct payments of retirement benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) if the marriage overlapped with at least ten years of the service member's creditable military service.

If the spouses meet the 10/10 rule, the former spouse may receive direct payments of their share of the military retirement benefits. These payments, handled by DFAS, are made directly to the former spouse, eliminating the need for the service member's involvement.

Even if the spouses don't meet the 10/10 rule, Snohomish County courts can still issue orders dividing military retirement benefits between divorcing spouses. The percentage or amount of the retirement the former spouse is entitled to receive upon the service member's retirement or separation from the military is specified in such orders.

The USFSPA provides mechanisms for enforcing court orders, which DFAS is responsible for. It is also in charge of implementing court orders regarding the division of military retirement pay, including making direct payments to former spouses if required.

Former spouses, as stated in the USFSPA, are allowed to be beneficiaries under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), which provides an annuity to eligible survivors of military retirees upon the retiree's death. As part of the divorce settlement, they may be entitled to SBP coverage, with premiums possibly deducted from the retiree's retirement pay.

The USFSPA ensures military retirement benefits are fairly divided between divorcing spouses and that former spouses receive the benefits they are entitled to under state divorce laws. It provides a framework for addressing the unique issues surrounding military divorce and retirement benefits.

How Does Washington State Divide Military Benefits In Divorce?

In Washington State, military benefits, including military retirement pay, are subject to division in divorce proceedings under the state's community property laws. Because Washington is a community property state, marital assets, liabilities, and debts are viewed legally as community property and belong to both parties, which are then equitably split between the spouses during divorce.

When dividing military retirement benefits in divorce cases, Snohomish courts may apply the provisions of the USFSPA, which classifies military retirement benefits as marital property. Consequently, these benefits are subject to division in a divorce, regardless of whether the marriage overlaps with the member's military service.

Military retirement benefits are split between divorcing spouses using various methods. Snohomish courts may order a percentage division of the retirement benefits, specify a dollar amount to award to the non-military spouse, or use other formulas to determine the equitable distribution of the benefits.

The "10/10 rule" under the USFSPA may also be considered. It allows former spouses to receive direct payments of their share of military retirement benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) if the marriage overlaps with at least ten years of the service member's creditable military service.

Military divorces often address Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage, a program that offers an annuity – a monthly payment – to eligible survivors of retired military personnel after the retiree's death. In divorce settlements, courts may order the service member to maintain SBP coverage for their former spouse, ensuring continued financial security.

They also issue court orders specifying the division of military retirement benefits. Failure to comply will lead to enforcement through legal mechanisms like wage garnishment or direct payments from DFAS. DFAS is responsible for implementing and enforcing court orders regarding the division of military retirement pay.

How Is Child Support Calculated For Military Families?

Generally, child support calculations for military families are similar to those for civilian families, but there are some unique considerations due to the nature of military service. Here's how courts typically calculate child support for military families in Washington:

  1. Income Calculation:

    Calculating child support typically starts with determining the income of both parents. For military service members, income may include:

  2. Parenting Time And Custody Arrangements: Child support calculations consider how much time each parent spends with the child (custody or visitation schedule). In cases where the military service member is deployed or stationed away from the child, courts may make adjustments to reflect the service member's reduced parenting time.
  3. Healthcare And Other Expenses: Child support orders may also include provisions for the child's healthcare expenses like health insurance premiums, medical care, and dental care. However, if the military has healthcare coverage through TRICARE, the military’s health insurance program, child support calculations may be affected.
  4. Washington State Guidelines And Formulas: Washington has specific child support guidelines and economic tables that consider both parents' incomes, the number of children, and other relevant factors. These help ensure consistency and fairness in child support determinations.
  5. Modification Of Child And Spousal Support Orders: In Snohomish County, child and spousal support orders may be modified if financial circumstances change. Military service members may seek to modify child support orders if their military service affects their ability to comply with the existing order.

Washington's legal system believes both parents have rights and obligations to their children, focusing on cooperation and making a parenting plan rather than fighting it out. Working together is the best legal strategy during your Washington divorce.

What Happens If I Am Deployed During Divorce?

Being deployed during a divorce can complicate proceedings and require special considerations to ensure that your rights are protected. You may request a stay (postponement) under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) if you are deployed and unable to participate in the divorce proceedings. This will give you additional time to respond to legal documents and participate.

Before deployment, you should establish a family care plan, which is considered part of your parenting plan in Washington. It must outline arrangements for your child’s care and affairs management in your absence, designate a caregiver for your children, and provide instructions for handling financial matters and legal issues related to the divorce.

If you are deployed and unable to comply with court orders or participate in court hearings, you may seek a modification of orders. The SCRA allows deployed service members to request modifications to child custody, visitation schedules, and support obligations to accommodate their military service.

A trusted individual can act on your behalf while you are deployed through a power of attorney. Power of attorney is a legal authority you grant to another person to make decisions and handle administrative matters related to your divorce in your absence. If needed, you can designate your attorney to represent your interests in Snohomish County Family Court and advocate for your rights while on deployment.

When facing divorce during deployment, it's crucial to have legal representation from an attorney experienced in military divorce cases and knowledgeable of the unique challenges that deployment can present. Provide your legal counsel with your deployment schedule and contact information so they can reach you as needed.

Always maintain open communication with your attorney while deployed. They can inform you of significant developments in your case and advise you on your options.

After deployment, plan how you will reintegrate into civilian life and resume your responsibilities in the divorce proceedings upon your return. Work with your attorney to address any outstanding issues and ensure your interests are protected.

By seeking guidance from a Marysville attorney specializing in military divorce, you can navigate the legal process effectively while safeguarding your rights and interests. Contact us now to learn about how our military divorce expertise can support you during this trying time.

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