A military divorce is a divorce that involves current or retired military personnel. In this situation, it is crucial to retain a divorce lawyer who understands issues such as access to military benefits, combat-related special compensation, deployments and parenting, and the division of military retirement benefits. At Plog & Stein, our Denver military divorce lawyers can evaluate your situation and are able to provide knowledgeable representation during this difficult time. We also offer a 10% discount off of your attorney’s hourly rate for all active duty service members, and in some cases for veterans.Pursuing a Military Divorce
In Colorado, at least one of the spouses in a marriage must be domiciled in the state for at least 91 days before a divorce is filed. When the person who is claiming to be a domiciliary is in the service, their LES is supposed to say that their legal residence is in Colorado, and they should have a Colorado driver's license. If a service member's spouse is claiming to be a Colorado domiciliary, their driver's license will be examined, and the court will look at whether they are physically present in Colorado. A spouse's change of domicile to Colorado is supposed to be complete 91 days before filing for the divorce.
A military divorce takes place in an ordinary civil court like any other divorce. What is different from regular divorces are the types of issues involved. Generally, there are some significant and unique issues that may arise during a divorce when one spouse is in the military or retired from the military.
For example, there is the issue of whether and how to divide retirement benefits in a divorce case. Military personnel rely on receiving retirement benefits, but Colorado law requires the equitable distribution of marital property. What happens to retirement benefits in view of this law? Firstly, Colorado law is superseded by federal law and military regulations. As such, a military pension is not subject to division by a divorce court if the parties were not married for 10 years or more. Secondly, some aspects of military retirement may be disability related, as opposed to regular pension. Disability retirement pay is not considered property and is also not subject to division by a court in a divorce. However, either form of monthly pension or retirement pay will be included as income for purposes of determining alimony and child support.
When it comes time to divide a legally divisible military retirement plan it’s important to remember that DFAS has certain forms and requirements which differ from those necessary to divided a civilian pension. There are also strict time frames for submitting military dividing orders after the divorce decree enters. If military retirement can be divided, it will generally be allocated like any other retirement plan in terms of the court dividing it “equitably” pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-113. Our military divorce attorneys can help Denver residents understand how statutes and rules apply to their situations.
Unique issues may also come up related to military deployments and long work hours. To determine custody and parenting time, the court will examine each parent's demonstrated capacity to care for the child. Fault is not considered. Instead, the emphasis is the child's best interests in terms of both primary residential custody and legal custody (decision-making). The former refers to who lives with a child for the majority of the time. The latter refers to the right of a parent to be involved when a decision related to education, religion, or medical care affects the child. If a service member wants to get custody, they must have a concrete plan about how the child will receive care in a military life context. When both parents are on active duty, it may be even more challenging to determine custody. Likewise, challenges can arise when the service member is subject to reassignment, which can have ramifications regarding visitation or primary residence, since he or she may be required to leave Colorado or the U.S. altogether when new orders come in.
Other intricacies which can also occur in a military divorces tie into the service member’s pay and what income figures will be used when calculating support. There may be additional pay during deployment, combat pay, BAH/BAQ/BAS, or various other items which, though includable as income, are subject to change depending on changes in assignment. Furthermore, special attention must be paid to income when a party is separating from the military. Once service ends, there is not guarantee that the income realized while serving will be achievable in the private sector. Whatever your situation, the divorce attorneys at Plog & Stein can help.Seek Assistance from a Military Divorce Lawyer in Denver
At Plog & Stein, our only goal is meeting our clients' legal objective and attaining the best possible outcomes for them. We provide thorough and experienced representation with each case, including military divorces in Colorado. Contact Plog & Stein at (303) 781-0322 or via our online form for an appointment with a Denver military divorce attorney. We also represent people who are seeking a property division lawyer or assistance with other issues related to a divorce in Littleton, Brighton, Lakewood, and Arvada, as well as other areas of Denver, Jefferson, and Adams Counties.