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Puyallup Military Divorce

Hire A Military Divorce Attorney In Puyallup

Navigating a military divorce in Puyallup can be daunting, but our specialized military divorce attorneys have your back. With a deep understanding of military and Washington State divorce laws, we offer the support and expertise you need to overcome your unique challenges.

Is Washington The Right State For Your Military Divorce?

Deciding whether Washington State is the right jurisdiction for a military divorce depends on various factors specific to your situation. Washington state typically requires one or both spouses to be residents for a certain period before filing for divorce, so it might be an appropriate jurisdiction if you or your spouse are stationed in Washington or have established residency there.

Washington state has a significant military presence, with bases such as Joint Base Lewis-McChord. If you or your spouse are stationed at a military installation in Washington, filing for divorce may be more convenient. Consider additional elements like the regulations surrounding the distribution of assets, child custody, and alimony in Washington as opposed to other possible legal jurisdictions.

In military divorces, the (USFSPA)Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act addresses issues related to military service, including jurisdictional matters. It allows state courts the ability to divide military pensions as part of divorce settlements. Therefore, regardless of where you file, courts will consider your military benefits in the divorce proceedings.

Consult with our legal professionals who are familiar with both military and state divorce laws. We can advise whether Washington State is the best jurisdiction for your circumstances.

How Are Military Benefits Divided During Divorce?

Adhering to community property laws, Washington generally treats assets acquired during marriage as shared property, necessitating an equal split in divorce cases. This framework extends to include military benefits accumulated throughout the marriage.

The USFSPA enables Washington courts to categorize military retirement pay as an asset subject to division during divorce. Consequently, spouses can include military retirement benefits in the marital estate for division under state law.

Courts have multiple methods to distribute military benefits, including offsetting with other assets or establishing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO directly splits retirement benefits or employs other court-determined methods.

In determining spousal support (alimony), courts actively consider factors like the marriage's duration, each spouse's income and potential to earn, and the living standards maintained during the marriage.

One important aspect of dividing military retirement pay is the 10/10 rule. This rule stipulates that for a former spouse to receive a portion of the military retirement pay directly, spouses must have been married for at least ten years, overlapping with at least ten years of military service creditable towards retirement.

What Happens If I Get Deployed During My Pierce County Divorce Proceedings?

While deployment during your divorce proceedings in Pierce County, Washington may complicate the process, there are steps you can take to protect your rights. Here are some of your legal options:

  • Request for Stay: Should you be deployed, you or your lawyer can file for a stay (a temporary halt) in the divorce proceedings until your return. This pause guarantees your chance to engage directly in the divorce process, allowing you to make decisions about your rights and duties with full awareness.
  • Get Representation: Securing legal representation is vital, particularly during deployment. An attorney advocates on your behalf in court and during negotiations, safeguarding your rights when you cannot attend in person.
  • Maintain Communication: Maintain communication with your attorney throughout your deployment. They will keep you informed about the progress of your case and any important developments that require your attention or input.
  • Engage in Remote Participation: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to participate in hearings or mediation sessions remotely via phone or video conferencing.
  • Consider a Power of Attorney (POA): Consider granting a trusted individual power of attorney to make certain legal decisions on your behalf while you are on deployment. POA decides about your divorce case, such as signing documents or appearing in court.
  • Understand Your Military Protections: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain protections for servicemembers involved in legal proceedings, including divorce. Your attorney can advise you on how these protections apply to your situation.
  • Stay Flexible: Be prepared for the possibility that the court may need to adjust the timeline or procedures of your case to accommodate your deployment. Flexibility and cooperation can help ensure the process proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Military deployment can present challenges, but it's possible to navigate the process with the help of legal representation and understanding from the Pierce County Court.

Legal Options For Your Military Divorce In Puyallup

In Pierce County, Washington, military divorces are often settled outside of court thanks to state laws prioritizing fair outcomes. This means you have several legal options available during your military divorce, including:

  • Negotiation: You and your spouse, with your lawyers' help if necessary, collaborate to settle matters like asset distribution, child custody, and support without resorting to court. You can negotiate directly or through mediation to reach these agreements.
  • Mediation: A neutral mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between you and your spouse to help you reach a consensus. This approach is often less aggressive and more cost-effective than going to court.
  • Arbitration: In arbitration, you and your spouse argue your cases before a neutral arbitrator, who then decides on contested issues. The arbitration can be binding or non-binding, based on what both parties decide beforehand.
  • Court Litigation: Should negotiations, mediation, or arbitration fail, court intervention becomes necessary to resolve your divorce. Here, a judge listens to both sides before rulings on asset division, child custody, and support.
  • POA: If one spouse is deployed or unable to participate in legal proceedings while stationed away, a power of attorney proves beneficial. It allows the absent spouse to designate someone to act legally on their behalf regarding the divorce.
  • Collaborative Divorce: In a collaborative divorce, spouses and their attorneys pledge to solve the divorce amicably outside of court. Through several meetings, you work toward agreements that satisfy both parties.
  • Legal Separation: Instead of divorce, legal separation might be preferable in certain situations. It formalizes a separation agreement dealing with asset division, child custody, and support while the couple remains legally married.

Each of these options has its advantages and considerations. Consult with your military divorce attorney to determine the best approach for your situation in Puyallup.

How To Hire The Best Military Divorce Attorney In Puyallup

Hiring a military divorce attorney involves a similar process to hiring any other type of legal professional but with some additional considerations due to the complexities of military divorce cases. Here are some tips to help you find the right attorney for your case:

  1. Research Attorneys: Look for attorneys specializing in military divorce in the Puyallup area. You can use online directories and lawyer referral services or ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have gone through a similar situation.
  2. Check Qualifications and Experience: Find attorneys experienced in handling military divorce cases and are familiar with the unique challenges and regulations involved. Check their qualifications, including their education, credentials, and specialized family law or military law training.
  3. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Read online reviews and testimonials from past Puyallup clients to learn about the military attorney's reputation and track record of success in handling military divorce cases.
  4. Schedule Consultations: Once you've narrowed your list of potential attorneys, schedule initial consultations. Numerous lawyers provide complimentary or affordable initial consultations, allowing you to review your case with them, understand their method of handling it, and decide if you're at ease collaborating with them. 
  5. Ask Questions: To help you assess the attorney's qualifications, experience, and suitability for your case, write a list of questions to ask during the consultation. Some questions you may want to include are:
    • How much experience do you have with military divorce cases?
    • Are you familiar with the specific regulations and considerations for military divorces?
    • What is your approach to handling military divorce cases, and what strategies do you typically employ?
    • What are your fees and billing structure?
    • How will you communicate with me throughout the case, and how responsive are you to client inquiries?
    • Can you provide references from past clients?
  6. Evaluate Your Compatibility: Consider how well you communicate with the attorney and whether you feel comfortable discussing personal matters with them. It's important to choose someone you feel you can work well with.
  7. Review Fee Agreements: Before hiring an attorney, ensure you understand their fee structure and have reviewed and agreed to any fee agreements or retainer contracts. Be clear about how and when they bill services.

After meeting with several attorneys and considering their qualifications, experience, and compatibility, choose the attorney you believe best fits your needs and objectives in your military divorce case.

If you need a military divorce attorney in Pierce County, contact us. We dedicate ourselves to vigorously defending the rights of military members and their families. Trust us to advocate passionately, ensuring you receive the representation and support you deserve during this challenging 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