Getting a divorce in Washington State while being an active service member can often be a difficult, confusing, and complicated process. This is especially true if you have children or have been married for a significant period of time. And, if you or your spouse is deployed while your divorce or family law case if filed or pending, an additional layer of complication is often present.
The attorneys at Washington Family Law Group have helped hundreds of active military servicemembers or their spouses throughout Western Washington navigate the often difficult and choppy waters of divorce. Issues such disability, whether full or partial, BAH, and retirement can be especially complicated depending on the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case. Our military divorce and family law attorneys are here to help.
We know the law, and we will fight to protect you, your children, and your future. Our lawyers understand and are very familiar with the unique issues facing service members and their spouses when divorcing. From child custody and child support, to debt and asset division, to issues like temporary BAH support and spousal support, our family law attorneys will fight to protect your legal rights and options.
From our military divorce legal services offices in Tacoma, Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, and Olympia, we help service members successfully navigate the often stormy waters of divorce throughout Pierce County, Snohomish County, King County, and Thurston County. Whether you or your spouse are stationed at JBLM, Everett Naval Station, Camp Murray, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, or the Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, our lawyers have the resources and the experience to ensure that you get the best possible result. We also assist discharged and retired servicemembers throughout Western Washington.
No divorce is easy. If you're suddenly served divorce papers, it may come as a total shock. When the reality of the situation sinks in, you may feel like your entire world is collapsing. When children are involved, their lives are also affected, and you are suddenly faced with the reality of losing daily contact with those you love most. If you're in the military, these issues are compounded. Not only do you face the same problems as any other person going through a divorce, you also must deal with federal laws that govern military divorces.
Our Washington State military divorce attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience handling these complex cases. Both state and federal laws apply to military divorce, many of which are designed the protect the rights of persons in the armed forces. Whether you or your partner files for divorce, we can help you decipher these laws while ensuring your interests are fully protected.
If you're on active duty and your spouse files for divorce, the court cannot render any final judgments in your case, because you would be deprived of your legal rights. In fact, your Washington military divorce lawyer can help you maintain this status for up to 60 days after your tour is over. If you have no objection to the divorce petition, proceedings may move forward. However, we urge you to retain quality legal counsel to ensure that you receive equal treatment.
There are many other facets to military divorces that should be considered well in advance. Talk to one of our Washington State military divorce attorneys today and make sure you have the information you need to protect your interests.Know your Legal Rights with Help from an Experienced Litigators
To file for divorce in Washington State, at least one partner must be a resident. There is no minimum time limit to this law, so you can be a relatively new Washington resident and still file for divorce. Your case will be heard in one of Washington State's Family Courts, not in a military court.
Because Washington is a “no-fault” state, the only legal grounds for obtaining a divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means the court is not interested in whether one partner was unfaithful, or if they weren't doing their fair share of the housework. The court is still going to strive for fairness when dividing assets and determining custody arrangements and support levels.
If the partner on active duty is served with a petition for divorce, they can postpone the action. The law that guarantees this provision is called the “Service members Civil Relief Act.”Dividing Assets During a Military Divorce
Any property acquired during a marriage is considered community property by the court, so it is subject to division between the two divorcing partners. This includes assets like real estate, furniture, automobiles, etc. There are situations where spouses of active duty military personnel think that they should get a large chunk of the their partner's military retirement, especially if the marriage lasted for many years. However, it's likely the court disagrees with this assessment.
Ultimately, it's up to the court whether to divide military retirement between divorcing spouses. Because of the high value of this asset, it's important to talk to your Washington State military divorce lawyer and make sure your interests are protected. It should be noted that disability pay is not subject to property division.Child Custody and Child Support in Military Divorces
Both of these issues are handled much the same as they are during civilian divorces. The Washington State Support Schedule is used to determine child support amounts. The formula takes into consideration the income of both spouses, and various other factors. Only 60% of a military member's income can be earmarked for child support. If they remarry and are supporting that family, the maximum amount is reduced to 50%.
Child custody issues are often contentious, and this is no different with military divorce cases. No parent wants to lose custody of their kids, so it's important to talk to your lawyer and do your best to work with your ex to develop a fair parenting plan. If you can't work out the details of your custody and visitation arrangements, the court will do it for you.Contact a Washington State Military Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation
You can contact our Washington law office today and speak with a qualified military divorce attorney without cost or obligation. If you choose to retain one of our lawyers, they will protect your interests every step of the way. If your former partner and their attorney fail to treat you fairly, we will not back down from a fight.
Our divorce and family law lawyers assist military servicemembers throughout Western Washington. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of them or their spouses secure a fair and legally binding resolution to their case wherever they are stationed or reside following discharge or retirement. Over the years, our lawyers have helped military clients form the following bases.
- Fairchild Air Force Base Air Force
- Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Force
- Camp Murray Air Force
- Fort Lewis Army
- NAS Whidbey Island Navy
- NB Everett Navy
- NB Kitsap Navy
- Puget Sound NSY Navy
In general, our lawyers always urge clients to seek the most amicable path toward the resolution of a divorce. It's not always easy, and we can't promise you that we will always tell you what you want to hear. What we an promise is that we will tell you what you need to hear.
Contact a Washington military divorce lawyer today and get the help you need to handle these complicated family law cases.