Military Divorce Virginia Lawyers Arlington

Military Divorce Virginia Lawyers Arlington

Virginia Military Divorce – Virginia Lawyers

Divorce is never easy. The stresses of contemporary life make keeping a marriage together much more difficult than in the past. When military service by one or even both partners enters the picture, it’s even harder.

With the conflict in Iraq, military divorce cases have greatly increased. Since the Iraq War started, the divorce rate among active-duty Army officers and enlisted personnel has nearly doubled, this according to a report. In fact, officers actually have a greater percentage of failed marriages than enlisted individuals.

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The stress and emotional scars of combat have found their way into the partners private lives, and then into the Virginia divorce courts.

A Union of Federal and State Regulations

Unlike civilian cases, military divorce in Virginia are a complex and convoluted combination of both Federal and state law.

Along with the individual Virginia divorce statutes, there are also these Federal regulations regarding military divorces:

  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)
  • The Survivor Benefit Plan
  • Military Disability Pay
  • The Service Members’ Civil Relief Act


The USFSPA controls the amount of money a spouse is entitled to from the service member’s disposable retirement fund.

Even though this law authorizes the payments, it does not specify what those payments should be. That’s left up to the individual states to come up with their own equitable formula to divide the property and any retirement pay in military divorce cases.

The operative guiding principle here is the word “disposable income.” There is a rather long list of items that are not considered part of this disposable retirement pay, including:

  • Money owed the federal government
  • Money deducted to pay for fines resulting from a court martial
  • Money deducted to pay for forfeitures resulting from a court martial
  • Military disability benefits
  • Veteran’s Administration disability compensation
  • Premiums from survivor benefit plans

Some divorcing military personnel (and military divorce lawyers) can and do take advantage of these laws in order to rightly (or wrongly) limit the amount of money their spouse will eventually receive.

Experienced Virginia lawyers are well versed in these military divorce tactics, and the Virginia attorneys in our firm know the ins and outs of how these laws should be equitably applied.

“10 Year Rule”

Another area where military divorce lawyers must be totally familiar is the so-called “10 Year Rule.” Basically, if there is a 10 year overlap between the marriage and the military service earning retirement pay, the courts can automatically deduct and transfer to the spouse a portion of the retirement payments from the service member’s retirement account.

Under ten years and the courts can still direct deductions, but they won’t be automatically garnished. The service member would have the obligation to pay it him or her self. The ten year rule also is applicable to determine whether the non-service spouse is entitled to continued health care benefits and commissary privileges.

As mentioned, this is a complex issue. Without the help of an experienced military divorce lawyer, one partner stands a good chance of not receiving their rightful and full share of the benefits due them. The Virginia lawyers in our firm stand ready to help their clients navigate the difficulties involved.

Federal Law Directs, State Law Determines

As you’ve read, while Federal regulations may govern many aspects of military divorce, it’s usually state law that determines how the property of divorcing military couples will be eventually distributed.

For instance, Virginia makes distinctions between marital and separate properties. Military retirement plans and pensions are considered marital property as long as they were accrued during the actual marriage. Property and money accrued before the marriage or after the legal separation usually is not.

The procedures for determining who gets what in Virginia falls under the tangle of regulations known as Virginia Code Section 20-107.3. It is a lengthy list of most of the possible circumstances and contingencies which can and do affect marital distribution of property, including those in military divorce cases.

Lawyers at Sris Law Group, P.C. assisting Military Divorce Clients

The attorneys at SRIS Law Group, P.C. know how taxing and trying divorce cases can be. Coming right down to it, the only divorce case that matters to our clients is the one they’re personally experiencing. Military divorces are no different.

Military divorces however do often have unique sets of circumstances. Many times the spouses are physically separated during most of the divorce process due to deployment or other service related factors. Also consider that under military law, adultery by a service person or officer can be viewed as a punishable offense, while state courts usually turn more a less a blind eye to infidelities.

Then there are the innocent victims of divorce – the spouse’s children. How can a service man or woman sue for custody when they’re half way around the world in armed conflict – with no idea if their tour of duty will be extended or not?

The attorneys on our staff have hands-on experience with all these trying issues and concerns.

If you or your spouse are in the military and are considering divorce, or if you’ve already been served with divorce papers, you owe it to yourself to get the legal advice necessary, from lawyers who’ll make sure your military divorce case is handled professionally, carefully, and equitably.

Please give us a call at 888-437-7747 to arrange an initial consultation.

And remember, anything you discuss with our attorneys about your military divorce case at your meeting remains absolutely confidential. Rest assured what you bring to us in confidence will stay in confidence.

Arlington Court House Detail:

Arlington Circuit Court

1425 North Courthouse Road,
Arlington, VA 22201.

Arlington General District Court

1425 North Courthouse Road,
Suite 2400, Second Floor,
Arlington, VA 22201.

Arlington Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

P. O. Box 925,
1425 North Courthouse Rd, Ste 4100,
Arlington County Justice Center,
Arlington, VA 22216.

Article written by A Sris
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These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.