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What Can Military Divorce Lawyers Do For You?

Saturday, 11 February 2012
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Many articles have been written about the differences between military divorce lawyers and traditional divorce lawyers, and most of these have focused on one thing – military retired pay.  But a lot of the information pertaining to division of military benefits can be found by learning about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA.)  The Act contains a special jurisdictional limitation on the power of a state court to divide retirement.

Military divorce lawyers are usually very well-versed on the laws pertaining to jurisdiction, and can explain to you the importance of this in a military divorce case.  In order to divide military retired pay and other benefits, a Colorado court must first have jurisdiction over the service member.

Military divorce lawyers help their clients understand it better, but jurisdiction refers to the specific objectives that the court must satisfy before it can make decisions in a military divorce case.  For example, a service member may have legal residency in one state, a spouse that lives in another state, and be stationed in a third state. Before Colorado can have jurisdiction, the state of the divorce must either obtain the service member’s consent, be the state where he or she currently resides, or be the location of his or her legal residence.

The USFSPA states that even though a state may have the power to end a marriage and divide other marital property, the federal law still controls the circumstances under which a state court can treat military retired pay as property.

In the Colorado Springs area, you will find many divorce attorneys who market themselves as military divorce lawyers, but there are ways to determine whether they are really qualified.

Consider asking an attorney the following questions pertaining to military divorce:

  • How many of the cases you handled in the past year went to trial and how many were settled?
  • Of the military divorce cases you’ve handled in the past year, how many times did you represent the service member and how many times was it the non-member who hired you?
  • Can you explain to me the details about the federal statutes that cover the division of military retired pay?
  • How many other lawyers in your practice consider themselves to be military divorce lawyers?
  • What is the Service Members Civil Relief Act and how would it pertain to my case?
  • How long does a spouse need to be married to a military service member in order for part of the military retired pay to be rewarded as property?

Only when you are satisfied with an attorney’s level of knowledge in these areas should you move forward with hiring them.  Military divorce lawyers can work on your behalf to make sure you get the settlement you deserve.

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