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Novi divorce attorney for military retirement benefitsWhen a member of the military or the spouse of a military member files for divorce, they face certain challenges and issues that other divorcing couples may not face. For example, one major issue that divorcing military spouses may need to address is determining how military retirement benefits are distributed between spouses. When a person joins the military, they receive various benefits, such as free or subsidized healthcare, access to various military bases, and generous retirement benefits when their time in the service is done. Those benefits could become an asset of interest during a divorce, which is why you should know how they are handled in the event you and your spouse disagree.

Divorce and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), a person is only eligible to receive payments directly from the Department of Finance and Accounting (DFAS)  if they meet the requirements of the “10/10 rule.” This rule states that spouses must have been married for at least 10 years, and the service member must have served 10 years during the marriage. If the couple was not married for 10 years, or the serving spouse did not serve 10 years, then the other spouse is not eligible for payments directly from DFAS.

A Spouse May Still Receive Retirement Benefits Through Their Divorce Agreement

However, a person still may be able to receive a portion of their spouse’s military retirement pay if it is included in the divorce agreement. In addition to setting the 10/10 rule, the USFSPA allows each state to apply its own rules and include military retirement benefits in the property division process. In Michigan, courts try to distribute marital property in an equitable manner, meaning that it may not always be a 50/50 split. If a person is awarded a portion of their spouse’s military benefits in their divorce settlement, they may receive up to 50 percent of the total retirement award. 

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Oakland County military divorce attorney

Serving in the military comes with obvious risks, but not everyone thinks about the risks their relationships may face. The unfortunate truth is that being an enlisted service member or an officer means your chances of getting divorced are much higher than those associated with a marriage between two civilians.

Factors that can lead to a ruined relationship include the extremely high stress of certain military jobs, being away for months at a time, and having to put your service before your family again and again. Service members who have experienced trauma while deployed or during training have an even higher divorce rate, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and an inability to assimilate back into civilian life being common contributors to divorce

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Farmington Hills child support attorney military divorce

Divorce is a fairly common occurrence these days, especially when compared to decades ago. Recent studies show that approximately 40 to 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. Although this may be a somewhat disheartening statistic, it is a reality in today’s modern world. Regardless of whether the breakdown of a marriage was caused by infidelity, addiction, or financial problems, for many couples, legally ending their union may be better for everyone in the long run. Once a couple decides to divorce, many issues will need to be addressed, such as property and asset division, spousal support, and child support if children are involved. Child support in Michigan is determined based on various factors, but what if one or both parents are serving in the U.S. military? Service to our country can affect how child support payments are implemented. 

Legal and Parental Obligations

All parents are responsible for the emotional and financial security of their children, no matter whether they are married, divorced, separated, or they never tied the knot. This obligation applies to parents in the Armed Forces as well. Several laws exist to ensure children are provided with the necessities to live a healthy and joyful life. In most situations, the parent with the majority of the parental responsibilities and parenting time (the custodial parent) will receive child support payments from the other parent (the non-custodial parent). 

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