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

Sammamish Military Divorce

Hire Experienced Sammamish Lawyers Specializing In Military Divorce

Sammamish, Washington is home to a significant military population, with many service members stationed at nearby military bases. Military service presents unique challenges when it comes to divorce. This is why it’s crucial to work with an attorney who understands the specific challenges faced by military families, is experienced in handling cases in Sammamish, and is familiar with the King County court system.

State and federal laws govern the legal requirements and processes involved in military divorce in Sammamish, Washington, making it essential to seek assistance from an attorney well-versed in Washington military divorce and federal laws.

Furthermore, our Sammamish attorneys can provide you with the emotional support and guidance you may need during this challenging time. We understand the stress and uncertainty that military divorces can bring, and we will be there to answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide reassurance throughout the process.

What Are The Legal Protections For Divorcing Servicemembers Under The SCRA?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects active-duty servicemembers facing legal proceedings, including divorce-related ones. It allows servicemembers to request a stay (postponement) of legal proceedings, including divorce, when their service affects their participation capability. Stays for the duration of the servicemember's military service, plus up to 90 days after the end of their service may be requested.

If military personnel cannot appear in court due to military service, the SCRA protects them from default judgments in legal proceedings, including divorce cases. Courts must ensure that service members are adequately represented or have been able to defend themselves before entering default judgments.

The SCRA allows service members deployed or stationed away from their children to request temporary modifications to custody and visitation orders to accommodate their military service obligations. This provision helps them maintain relationships with their children despite their military duties.

These are just some legal protections offered to divorcing servicemembers under the SCRA. It's essential for servicemembers and their spouses to be aware of their rights and obligations under this law and to seek legal advice during divorce.

How Divorce Affects Military Housing Benefits In Washington

In Washington state, divorce can affect military housing benefits in various ways, mainly if the divorcing couple was residing in military housing provided by the Department of Defense (DoD) or if one or both spouses are service members. If the divorcing couple resided in military housing provided by the DoD, housing allocation may become an issue during divorce proceedings. The court may need to determine whether one or both spouses are entitled to continue living in military housing or if they need to make alternative housing arrangements.

In some cases, military housing eligibility may be based on the service member's marital status and dependents. Eligibility for military housing may change following a divorce, and the service member's housing allowance (Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH) may be adjusted based on their new dependents' status.

The King County court may consider spousal maintenance (alimony) payments during divorce proceedings, taking into account how they may impact housing arrangements. Spousal support payments can affect the service member's ability to maintain military housing and the non-military spouse's ability to secure alternative housing. Furthermore, housing decisions following divorce may also be impacted by child custody arrangements. When determining housing arrangements for the custodial parent and children, including whether they will continue to reside in military housing or transition to civilian housing, the court may consider the child's best interests.

Service members receiving a housing allowance (BAH) should be aware of possible changes to their allowance following divorce, particularly if they are no longer responsible for supporting dependents. Their BAH rate may be adjusted to reflect their new housing arrangements and dependent status. In cases where a service member or their spouse needs to transition out of military housing due to divorce, the military may provide transitional housing assistance or relocation support to help facilitate the move to civilian housing.

Military Divorce And Spousal Support: Understanding The Rules In Washington State

While military divorce and spousal support follow general divorce laws in Washington state, there are some key differences. To file for a divorce in King County, Washington, either spouse must meet the state's residency requirements. Generally, at least one spouse must be a resident of Washington or stationed in the state as an armed forces member.

Washington is a community property state. Courts divide marital property equally between spouses in divorce, including assets acquired during the marriage, such as military pensions, retirement benefits, and other benefits accrued during military service. In military divorces, spousal maintenance is granted based on the specifics of the marriage. Washington courts have discretion in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

When calculating spousal support, military income, including basic pay, housing allowances, and other allowances, may be considered. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) provides a legal framework for Washington to treat military retirement pay as marital property. Thus, it is subject to division in divorce, including for spousal support purposes.

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a military benefit that provides a monthly annuity to a service member's surviving spouse or eligible dependents upon the service member's death. In divorce, the court may order the service member to maintain SBP coverage for the former spouse as part of spousal support or property division.

Depending on the divorce circumstances, spousal maintenance in Washington may be temporary (rehabilitative) or long-term (permanent). King County Family Court determines maintenance based on the length of your marriage and the financial circumstances of each spouse.

If there is a substantial change in income or financial needs, maintenance orders may be modified. Military members may seek modification if their military service affects their ability to pay support or if they experience changes in duty station or deployment status.

Child Custody Considerations In Military Divorce Cases

Child custody considerations in military divorce are challenging because of the mobile nature of the service. Here are the key considerations that King County Courts take into account:

  • Like in civilian divorces, the primary consideration in child custody cases involving military parents is the best interests of the child. Courts will prioritize the child's physical and emotional well-being when deciding custody.
  • Military service often involves deployments, relocations, and frequent moves, complicating child custody arrangements. Courts must consider the potential impact of a parent's deployment or relocation on the child's stability and continuity of care.
  • King County family courts recognize the importance of maintaining the relationship between the service member and their child, even during deployments or temporary duty assignments. Parenting plans may need to be flexible to accommodate the service member's military obligations while ensuring regular and meaningful contact with the child.
  • Stability and routine support children's well-being, especially during family transition. This is why the child's school, community ties, extracurricular activities, and relationships with siblings and extended family are considered by the courts when determining custody arrangements.
  • Military regulations require service members with custody responsibilities to establish a family care plan outlining arrangements for caring for their children during deployments or other absences. Courts may review and consider the adequacy of the family care plan when making custody decisions.
  • King County courts will determine legal custody (decision-making authority) and physical custody (residential arrangements) based on the child's best interests. Joint legal custody may be feasible even if one parent has primary physical custody due to military service obligations.
  • Military families have access to support systems and resources the military community provides, including childcare services, family support programs, and counseling services. Courts may consider the availability of these resources when assessing military parents' ability to care for their children.
  • Military divorce is especially emotionally challenging. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health. If you are struggling, talk to your command about accessing base resources like therapy, group counseling, and other mental health support.

Military parents involved in child custody disputes should seek legal representation from Sammamish attorneys experienced in family and military law. These legal professionals can help navigate the complexities of military divorce and advocate for the child's best interests while protecting the parent’s rights.

Finding The Right Attorney For Your Military Divorce Case In Sammamish

When searching for an attorney to handle your military divorce case in Sammamish, Washington, it is essential to find someone specializing in this area of law. Look for attorneys with experience handling military divorces and a track record of successfully protecting their client's rights and interests.

Get recommendations from trusted friends, families, or fellow military personnel who have gone through a divorce. Once you have a few referrals, schedule consultations with them. Discuss your case thoroughly, as this will help you gauge their expertise and understanding of military divorce law. Ask about their experience, approach to handling military divorce cases, and success rate in achieving favorable outcomes for their clients.

Our lawyers have spent decades helping military families navigate Washington's divorce laws. We have the knowledge and experience to ensure a good outcome for your divorce.

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