Columbia Military Property Division Lawyer
In many ways, military property division and civilian divorce property division is basically the same thing. In other ways, most notably retirement accounts, the process is much different. There are some procedural differences as well. For example, the property and the parties may be located in different states. Finally, there are emotional differences between military and civilian property division. Given the ongoing Global War on Terror, it is sometimes difficult to focus on something like a divorce.
At the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, our Columbia military property division lawyers understand and appreciate all these differences. That includes both the legal and non-legal ones. Due to our vast experience, we are familiar with the unique issues in military property division. Furthermore, we are also familiar with the different types of family situations in military divorces. So, we adapt our proven methods to bring about the best possible result.
Jurisdictional Issues in Howard County Military Property Division Matters
In most civilian divorces, the parties and all the property are in the same county. Occasionally, a rental house or other property might be someplace else. In these cases, there is usually language in the deed or other legal documents which dictate venue (the court that hears any legal dispute).
But such pacts are usually absent with regard to military pensions and other military property. Moreover, these families relocate frequently, adding another layer to an already complex situation.
The 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act contains a number of laws on this particular subject. Any state court may hear any military divorce case if the military spouse:
- Has a permanent residence within the jurisdiction of the court,
- Currently resides within the jurisdiction of the court, or
- Consents to jurisdiction.
Assume the military spouse has a house in Howard County and is deployed elsewhere. Further assume the nonmilitary spouse meets the residency requirement for Montgomery County. If the military spouse consents to jurisdiction in Montgomery County, any of these three jurisdictions could consider the divorce case.
Medical Benefits and Retirement Accounts
Servicemembers and their spouses enjoy generous health insurance benefits. Normally, divorce terminates nonemployee spouses’ eligibility for group health plans. However, non-military spouses may continue to receive military health benefits if they meet the 20/20/20 rule, which is:
- Twenty years of service,
- Twenty years of marriage, and
- Twenty years of overlap between service and marriage.
The rules are a bit complex here, as there are a number of exceptions. So, spouses who do not meet the 20/20/20 rule may still be eligible for significant benefits. All eligibility terminates upon remarriage.
There is a similar rule with regard to military pensions. Non-Military spouses are eligible for 50 percent of a retirement account if they meet the 10/10 rule, which is:
- Ten years of military service, and
- Ten years of marriage.
Even if the spouse does not meet the 10/10/50 rule, that spouse may still be eligible for a portion of the retirement account. However, the government will not divide the account among the two spouses, so an attorney must make alternative arrangements.
Reach Out to an Assertive Columbia Military Divorce Lawyer
Proper military property division must pass muster under both Maryland and federal laws. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Howard County, contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.