Gevurtz Menashe

PDX 503.227.1515
WA 360.823.0410

Military Divorce

Family Law
When members of the military divorced, it’s important to involve a lawyer who has experience with military divorce and is well versed in the local and federal laws governing such a divorce. The divorce and estate planning lawyers at Gevurtz Menashe have extensive experience working on cases involving military divorce.

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military divorce attorneys in Oregon and Washingto

Divorces involving members of our country's armed forces can present unique challenges with regard to family law matters. Specific state and federal laws govern the unique issues intrinsic to Oregon and Washington military divorces and the impact they will have on the lives of service members and their families.

Military Pay and Pension Considerations

Military pensions must be carefully considered. Under Oregon law, the court divides marital property justly and properly between divorcing spouses; under Washington law, justly and equitably. Although military pensions will be considered among the marital assets, federal law supersedes every state’s law and may restrict a state judge’s authority to divide the military pension. An attorney can help ensure the appropriate disposition of military pension benefits in divorce proceedings. Detailed knowledge of both Oregon and federal law governing military retirement are essential to providing quality representation to our clients who are members of the armed forces or who are married to someone who is.

Military pay can be drastically affected by marital and dependent status. Compensation for soldiers and sailors is different than for civilian employees. A service member is often entitled to additional pay in the form of a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The BAH will depend on a service member's marital status and number of dependents. It is important to consider the effect of a divorce on the member's BAH, and the inevitable effect that it will have on the service member's ability to provide support for their former spouse and children.

Child Custody in Military Divorce

When children are involved, military deployment and transfers can present unique challenges when crafting a parenting plan that makes sense for the parents and is in the children's best interests. Special considerations and flexibility need to be given to account for the fact that a parent may be involuntarily transferred or deployed  away from their children. Jurisdiction over parenting issues may present unique questions in a military divorce, since jurisdiction depends on the state of residence of the children and also the residence and domicile of the children’s parents. For members of the military stationed away from home, the question “which state?” is one an attorney can help answer.

The fact that one parent is an active member in the military does not disqualify him or her from assuming legal responsibility for a child’s care and custody, even as primary residential parent. Courts understand that military bases, foreign and domestic, accommodate families and offer excellent schools and other services. In any event, the parenting plan needs to be carefully crafted to maximize the children’s opportunities for good contact and ample time with a parent who has essential military work to do. The parenting plan can be designed to reflect the possibility that the non-civilian parent may be called to combat service, and during that time will be unable to visit the child or parent them as a primary custodian. A lawyer who is familiar with military divorce will represent your interests and work with situations involving military families who have come to the point of divorce.

How to File for Divorce in the Military

You may seek to bring a legal action involving a military spouse or you may be the military spouse. You may live stateside and wish to serve papers upon a spouse who is stationed elsewhere—or even abroad. Our divorce lawyers can help with a comprehensive strategy to determine the best way to proceed.

The federal Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act protects active duty military members from being found in "default" for failing to respond to an Oregon or Washington divorce petition when the military member might be deployed overseas or otherwise unable to respond to state divorce proceedings, as promptly as a civilian might, because of the demands of military service. Members of the armed forces also require special consideration when they are asked to pay child or spousal support. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) decreases when they no longer house family members. An experienced divorce lawyer can help clarify the facts for the court in order to arrange a fair result.

If you are in the military and are being sued for divorce in Oregon or Washington, contact us to start a plan of action to best protect you and your assets. We can also work remotely if you are stationed out of the state to get everything ready before filing with the court. 

Call Gevurtz Menashe to speak with a military divorce attorney

Military divorces require special consideration and experience. The Gevurtz Menashe legal team has over 30 years of family law and estate planning experience. Call us at (503) 227-1515 or contact us to schedule a consultation with a military divorce attorney.

Call our Portland, OR offices at: 503-227-1515
and our Vancouver, WA office at 360-823-0410
or contact us to request a consultation.