Many divorce proceedings are complicated. However, when a divorce involves one or more members currently serving in the military, certain aspects of these proceedings get more complex, especially if a member is deployed overseas at the time of filing. The Nashville military divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have experience handling issues that are unique to a military divorce. Our attorneys are well-versed in the federal and state regulations that apply to military personnel and their spouses, which govern certain aspects of a military divorce, such as pension distribution, custody considerations, and other issues that arise. If you have questions about your legal rights when considering a military divorce or any other family law matter, contact our office today to get legal guidance on your options.Special Issues Regarding a Divorce Involving Service Members
Many issues involved in a military divorce are the same as with any other couple dissolving a marriage. However, some state and federal regulations set out specific requirements for divorces involving members of the military and their spouses. As a result, military members and their spouses may need to consider special issues regarding:
- Military pension and retirement account distribution, including a military spouse’s Thrift Savings Plan
- Child custody issues, especially for a deployed military parent
- Relocation and move away issues
- Decisions regarding the state in which to file for divorce
- Tax considerations
- Interpreting a military spouse’s Leave and Earnings (LEP) statement
The Service members Civil Relief Act protects military personnel when a legal action is filed against them while they are deployed overseas. The SCRA applies to all civil actions, including when a spouse files for divorce. A military divorce attorney can explain to Nashville residents how the law affects them. Divorce proceedings are postponed until an active service member returns from deployment. Additionally, proceedings can be delayed for up to 60 days after an individual is determined to be off duty. The provisions of the SCRA allow service members to preserve and assert their rights, and they can prevent divorce proceedings from progressing without their knowledge. However, active duty personnel may choose to waive their right to postpone a divorce if they wish for proceedings to continue during their deployment.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) was enacted by Congress in order to provide financial protection for certain former spouses of service members. Under the federal statute, states are allowed to classify disposable retired pay as marital property, subject to division during a divorce. However, under the statute, retirement benefits are not distributed to the former spouse unless the couple has been married for at least 10 years.
In making spousal and child support determinations, there may be additional allowances that a service member receives that exceed the ‘base pay’ that is indicated in a paycheck. Additionally, under Tennessee law, child and spousal support payments cannot exceed 60 percent of a service member’s pay. Because of these and other distinctive circumstances that may arise in divorces involving military personnel, it is important to enlist the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney who can help make sure that the process is fair to you.Contact a Military Divorce Lawyer in Nashville or the Surrounding Areas
All divorces involve emotional, complex issues with which each spouse must cope during the course of the proceedings. Because of the unique circumstances involved in military divorces, this process may be even more complicated for people serving our country. The family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC understand the difficulties that military service members and their families face while contemplating or going through with ending a marriage. Our Nashville military divorce attorneys also represent people in Franklin, Cool Springs, Hillsboro Village, East Nashville, and Hermitage, as well as other communities throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties. If you need legal assistance during a divorce proceeding, contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to learn about how we can help.