When divorcing a military service member, there are differences than splitting up with another civilian. This isn’t your traditional divorce and there are unique things to be aware of in this situation. Experienced military divorce lawyer, Christina Anton Garcia, shares some of the most common mistakes people make in military divorce situations:
Military Divorce Mistake #1: Uncertainty about survivor benefits in military retirement
Many service members fail to specify their spouse’s entitlement to the survivor benefit annuity in their military retirement package. Former spouses may also be entitled to this annuity, so it is smart to consider this when drafting a divorce settlement.
Military Divorce Mistake #2: Failure to consider the 10-year minimum time for military entitlements
Unlike traditional retirement plans, the former spouse of a military service member must have been married to that service member for at least 10 years of their military career. Proceeding with a divorce when the military spouse has not reached this milestone can impact you financially.
Military Divorce Mistake #3: Failing to elect a former spouse as the survivor annuitant in military retirement
In a divorce case where the former spouse is entitled to military retirement benefits, it is very important for the military member to make this election within one year of the divorce date. If he or she fails to do so and then dies, the former spouse will have no recourse for receiving these benefits.
Military Divorce Mistake #4: Inaccurate calculations of income
Make sure to include military Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), basic allowance for housing (BAH), Hazard Pay and other variations. In order to ensure spousal support and child support are calculated accurately and fairly, it is important to be accurate in a military income assessment.
Military Divorce Mistake #5: Relying on Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorneys
While it might seem easier to get free advice from a JAG attorney, they do not specialize in family law. The correct course of action would be to ask for a family law referral from a JAG attorney or contact our Tampa divorce attorneys for a consultation on your case.
Military Divorce Mistake #6: Telling the military about a service member’s indiscretions
Divorce can be painful, and it can be tempting to take revenge when a partner has let you down. But, reporting specific details or indiscretions can potentially hurt or even destroy the service member’s military career. Besides, in a no-fault divorce state, discussing indiscretions will likely not make a difference in your divorce settlement.
Military Divorce Mistake #7: Failure to address travel concerns in a custody case
In a military divorce, issues of traveling to see the children may be complicated. Timing and costs can become major obstacles to continued parenting time, particularly when one parent is stationed overseas. For this reason, an Anton Garcia family lawyer should include detailed travel arrangements for parents.
Military Divorce Mistake #8: Health insurance concerns for ex-military spouses
Unless the couple was married for 20 years of the military member’s service, it is unlikely an ex-spouse would receive health benefits from the military after divorce. This will need to be considered in terms of its financial impact on your divorce settlement.
Save yourself from making these potentially costly mistakes and hire an experienced Anton Garcia family law attorney with military divorce experience today. Our Tampa, FL divorce attorneys are here for you during this difficult time and will represent your best interests to get you the most favorable military divorce outcome.