Attorney With McDevitt Law Firm Discusses Special Considerations Of Military Divorces

Law Firm Newswire



Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 20, 2013 – A prominent Virginia divorce attorney says that there are important factors to consider when one or both members of a divorcing couple are in the military.

“Legally, members of the armed services are no different from anyone else when it comes to divorce, but there can be several additional factors to consider,” said Lisa McDevitt, an attorney who handles military divorce cases.

The divorce process may take longer if one spouse is permanently stationed overseas or is on active duty in a remote region. Each state has its own domicile and residency requirements for filing and for service of process. However, many states have relaxed requirements for active-duty military personnel stationed in that state.

To file for divorce in Virginia, at least one spouse must be a resident and domiciliary of the state for at least six months prior to the filing of the suit. While residency refers to where a person lives at a given time, a person’s domicile refers to the location of a fixed and permanent home. The state of Virginia requires that military personnel stationed in the state for at least six months meet both the residency and domicile requirements.

A military divorce will also need to consider the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, or USFSPA. The Act provides that states may treat military retired pay as property, rather than income. It is also possible for a divorced spouse to receive direct retirement payments under some circumstances. If a couple has been married for at least 10 years, which overlaps with at least 10 years of military service, then the non-military spouse may be eligible for direct payments from Defense Finance and Accounting Services.

If a divorced spouse is ineligible for direct payments, that does not necessarily mean that he or she is ineligible for a portion of the payment. A divorce settlement may include a portion of military retirement pay in addition to child support and alimony.

“Additional considerations are raised by these types of cases, and it is best to consult with an attorney who is experienced in military divorce,” said McDevitt.

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