OVERVIEW OF MILITARY DIVORCE IN VIRGINIA
If one or both parties are in the military or previously were in the military, it is important to obtain a lawyer that is experienced in military divorces. There are a number of special considerations in a military divorce when filing in Virginia.
FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR A MILITARY DIVORCE IN VIRGINIA
A servicemember may file for divorce in Virginia if you reside currently and have been stationed for at least six months in Virginia, were stationed in Virginia for six months prior to being deployed, or is located on ship that has its home port in Virginia. A divorce can also be filed in Virginia if at least one spouse is a bona fide resident and domiciliary of the state.
SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT AND UNIFORMED SERVICES FORMER SPOUSES PROTECTION ACT
Military divorces are subject not only to Virginia state law, but also federal law including but not limited to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act 2003 (SCRA) and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA).
If a civilian spouse seeks a divorce from a servicemember who is currently deployed outside of the state, the SCRA prevents a civilian spouse from being awarded a divorce against the servicemember during deployment. Once the service member has returned from deployment, a divorce petition may be filed.
USFSPA in a Virginia military divorce establishes the rules which apply to the retired pay of a service member and how it is divided and distributed. Often time, for a career servicemember, a servicemember’s retired pay may be the largest asset they have. In a Virginia divorce, military retired pay is considered marital property subject to equitable distribution. It may also have an effect on child support or spousal support considerations. USFSPA also provides whether a former military spouse may have full medical, commissary and exchange privileges.
CUSTODY IN A VIRGINIA MILITARY DIVORCE
The Virginia courts have to consider the child’s best interests in awarding custody. This can be difficult given that a servicemember may be deployed regularly which impacts their custody or visitation schedule. These challenges should be discussed with a Virginia divorce lawyer to determine what will work given the challenges of a military member’s deployments, training and schedules.
ADULTERY IN A VIRGINIA MILITARY DIVORCE
If the civilian spouse is accusing a servicemember of adultery, this can be a career ending issue. If
this is a circumstance that you are facing, then it is important that you hire an experienced Virginia divorce attorney that is familiar with the implications that this can have on your career.
If one or both parties are in the military or previously were in the military, it is important to obtain a lawyer that is experienced in military divorces.
Recently, the Supreme Court in Howell v. Howell ruled in the veteran’s favor that a state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in retirement pay caused by his waiver to obtain service-related disability pay. With one of our attorneys being the spouse of a former military member, Corrie particularly understands the difficulties that military members face and can help you navigate the complex area of the law.
DIVORCE LAWYERS IN VIRGINIA
Our Virginia divorce lawyers in Northern Virginia located in Manassas and Fairfax understand the difficulties that military members face and can help you navigate the complex area of the law. If you want to speak with one of our VA divorce attorneys to discuss your case, reach out to us at either our Manassas and Fairfax locations to schedule. Read more about how we have helped our clients here.