Military divorces are common in Virginia. Military personnel and their spouses face unique problems when considering a divorce. The Uniform Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act prevents many military divorces from following along the same path as a standard divorce. The act prevents a court from ruling against a member of the armed services while he is deployed with the military. This causes many military divorces to take longer than civilian divorces.
Another special consideration has to be given to military pensions. Many military spouses believe that they will be entitled to a portion of the service member’s military retirement after ten years. DFAS will not direct pay a former military spouse a portion of a military retirement unless a divorce court orders the payment to be made.
Some spouses inadvertently sign away their rights to military retirement in a separation agreement, not realizing the agreement is a binding agreement. If you are a military spouse, you should never sign a separation agreement or divorce papers unless you have had your lawyer review them.
Other issues arise within the military. Unlike civilian employers, the military will often order a service member to pay the spouse a certain amount of money per month if they are separated. Also if a service member is deemed to be disabled, then a portion or all pension income may be converted into disability. This will affect the military retirement of the former military spouse.
If you or your spouse is in the military and thinking about getting a divorce, it is very important that you seek counsel before signing any legal documents, including a separation agreement.