Divorce and custody disputes can be complex and costly if not handled right – even more so for military divorce and military custody disputes. Military life, deployments, relocation and even military pay structure all contribute to the extra complexity and potential for costly mistakes in military divorce and custody disputes.
Military Life. Whether living on base or off base, military life and living add to the complexity of divorce and custody disputes. In divorce, for example, complications arise with “dividing” on-base housing. Custody issues arise in base access, on-base childcare, military medical benefits, and potentially even security clearances and military readiness.
Deployments. Deployments, whether past, present, or pending, can affect custody as well as child support calculations. Every military member with shared custody of a child needs a well-developed custody plan for deployments, or they or their extended family members could lose out tremendously on custody, parent-time, and child support during deployments.
Relocation. Voluntary and involuntary relocation significantly impact co-parenting, custody, parent time and child support. Long-distance relocation, for example, brings long distance travel expenses for parent-time exchanges. Relocation, if handled poorly, can upend custody and parent-time agreements.
Military Pay. Military pay, compensation, medical benefits, and retirement benefits are complex and require extra consideration when dividing the marital estate or calculating child support. Added specialization and expertise are needed when dividing military retirement benefits, whether simply dividing a TSP account or addressing military pension. Incomplete or incorrect calculations could cause significant unnecessary costs to either the military member, the dependent spouse, or other parties (including the children).
Military members facing divorce or custody disputes, reports Jonathan L. Felt, a family law attorney and mediator at Felt Family Law & Mediation, absolutely need the help of an attorney or mediator who is familiar with military life, deployments, relocation, and military pay. The nuance and complexity of military divorce and military custody requires a professional who knows the arena as well as the ground situation.
Lastly, the federal government and most states have put in place specific protections for military members facing court actions, including divorce and custody issues. Whether state-side, overseas, or on the sea, it is important to work with a professional who is familiar with the added protections for military service members in your area and the area where your children reside.
If you are facing military divorce or military custody issues, contact an attorney near you who knows and understands the military, who can help navigate military complexities, and can help you avoid pitfalls and unnecessary costs.