Colorado Springs Military Divorce Attorneys
A "military divorce" is not a special type of proceeding - like any other dissolution of marriage action, it will take place in civilian courts, not military courts, in front of the same domestic relations judges and magistrates who preside over family law cases involving civilians. The term "military divorce" is simply shorthand for a divorce when one, or both, of the spouses is in the armed forces.
There is no special rule for what constitutes a "military divorce lawyer." Hiring an attorney for your military divorce is not easy. Just because a family law attorney claims to know the military, or even has prior military service, it does not mean the lawyer actually knows the legal issues which affect a divorce when one spouse is in the military. Anyone can hold themselves out to be a "military divorce attorney", but there's a difference between advertising, and actually knowing the laws affecting military divorces, and knowing how to litigate those legal issues.
Word of mouth is a good starting point. If you know a servicemember or spouse who was divorced and happy with his/her family law attorney. But that's only the first step in the process - visit the law firm's web site - if it doesn't even mention the military, that's not a positive sign. However, simply claiming to be a "military divorce lawyer" does not mean the attorney actually has the expertise you need. For that, you'll probably have to narrow your list down to a few candidates, and visit with lawyers for consultations.
Consult with a few of the lawyers, and ask specific questions about your case to see if that "military divorce attorney" knows what he/she is talking about. If you go to a consultation prepared, in about 5-10 minutes you should be able to figure out whether the attorney on the other side of the desk is truly prepared to handle the issues in a "military divorce", or whether you're being fobbed off with generalities which mask a lack of knowledge.
If you already have specific question in mind, fire away and see what answers you get. But if not, here are some basic questions which every military divorce attorney should be able to answer.
Five Questions to Ask Military Divorce Lawyers
1. How many cases have you handled involving military personnel? Black & Graham is truly a Colorado Springs military divorce law firm - most of our attorneys and staff are veterans, or family members, and over a third of our cases involving servicemembers. That means we've handled hundreds of "military divorce" cases.
2. How does the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act affect service of process? This is a bit sneaky, since it's a double trick question. First, the SSCRA was replaced in 2003 when it was entirely rewritten as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Second, the SCRA has no specific requirements on how to serve the summons on a servicemember.
3. Does service of process in Colorado give the court jurisdiction to divide a military retirement? Not necessarily. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act requires either domicile or the servicemember's consent to divide a military retirement.
4. How many years of marriage are needed before a military pension is divisible? None - however unless there are at least 10 years of marriage overlapping military service, the spouse needs to get his/her share from the retiree as DFAS will not pay it directly to the other spouse.
5. What benefits is the civilian spouse entitled to after divorce? Unless married for at least 20 years, none. And those 20 years of marriage must overlap at least 15 years of service for one year of transitional medical benefits, or overlap 20 years of service for full military benefits after divorce.
Colorado Springs Military Divorce Lawyer
If you need a military divorce attorney in El Paso County, we would be honored if you consider the law firm of Black & Graham. We know the military - about a third of our cases involve the military, and our veteran team of Colorado Springs military divorce attorneys is managed by Carl O. Graham, a former Army JAG attorney who authored this Guide and has taught Colorado military divorce law to groups of lawyers and judges throughout the state. Our lawyers have the training and experience to handle your case, and you can’t find a better or more experienced military divorce law firm in Colorado Springs.
We handle military divorce cases from Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, and the Pikes Peak region. We also offer a 10% military discount to all service members, military spouses, and retirees.