The military lifestyle is very hard on many marriages. Lengthy deployments, frequent and sudden relocations, along with other necessary sacrifices sometimes strain the closest relationships. Just like military marriages are different from civilian marriages, military divorces are different from civilian divorces. It’s very important that your family law attorney understand the financial, emotional, and other differences.
The Columbia military divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink are proud to serve the military community. Many of us have lengthy service records ourselves, so we know what you are going through. That compassion extends to other areas as well. For example, we always strive to uphold the best interests of the children in all child custody matters. However, we always put our clients first. There is nothing more important to us than your emotional and financial well-being.
Overseas deployment usually halts the legal process in divorce and other cases. It does not matter if the bullets are flying or not. In 2003, Congress substantially expanded the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA, or Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act) to address a wide variety of situations.
Especially in states like Maryland which have long divorce waiting periods, relocation may be an issue as well. If a spouse receives orders to report to another base in the United States, it is very difficult to continue the divorce in Maryland. The same thing applies if a military family suddenly moves to the Terrapin State. We can usually convince the court to make alternative arrangements in these cases.
Finally, the final divorce orders must reflect the family’s military affiliation. That’s especially important in areas like child custody and child visitation. Otherwise, deployment or relocation could be considered child abandonment, and that label often has devastating consequences.
In most cases, child support and alimony is rather easy to calculate. Child support is usually a function of income and parenting time; spousal support usually takes into account one spouse’s ability to pay and the other spouse’s economic need. Most civilians receive most or all employment compensation in cash.
But the military is different. In addition to cash compensation, many servicemembers receive substantial non-cash compensation, such as:
The divorce orders must take into account all these income sources. Fortunately, the legal solutions can be creative. For example, one spouse may retain PX privileges after the divorce.
The attractive retirement package lures many people into full-time military service. The law recently changed in this area, so dividing these retirement accounts is even more difficult.
Many people are familiar with the 10/10/50 rule. If the marriage lasted at least ten years and the servicemember spouse has at least ten years of service, the other spouse is entitled to 50 percent of the retirement account. In a civilian divorce, there is some flexibility here. But the 10/10/50 rule is rather ironclad, in most cases.
The other spouse may still be entitled to some portion of the account even if the 10/10 part of the rule does not apply. However, the government will not divide the account. The litigants must come up with alternative solutions, and these solutions can sometimes have substantial tax consequences. Everything must be fully accounted for.
Military divorces can be quite intricate. For a free consultation with an experienced miltary divorce lawyer in Columbia, contact the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. We routinely handle cases in Howard County and nearby jurisdictions.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044