Colorado Military Divorce Is Complicated – Get the Help You Need

As military members know, the challenges of military life are much different than those of civilian life. Relocations, deployments, housing, and a myriad of other stressors involved in being a part of the military can place stress and strain on a marriage, pushing it to its breaking point.

Likewise, while a divorce is complex even in ordinary circumstances, when you add the legal and practical issues that military members face during a divorce, getting through it requires a much deeper understanding of the nuances of the law.

At The Law Office of Andrew Bryant, we are experienced in dealing with all the challenges military divorce can bring. We have helped many service members and their spouses resolve their divorces and establish arrangements to help their families move forward.

Colorado Springs Military Divorce: What Is It?

The same statutes apply to all divorces in Colorado, whether they involve someone in the military or regular civilians. Legally speaking, there’s no such thing as a “military divorce.” In fact, under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, a federal statute that helps govern the division of military benefits, the laws of the state where the divorce takes place are the ones that must be followed.

However, while your military divorce is similar procedurally to a regular Colorado divorce, you will likely experience an extra layer of complexity due to your connection to the military. For example, jurisdiction is critical in military divorce cases, mainly when one or both spouses are stationed outside of Colorado. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protections for active-duty servicemembers by allowing them to delay legal proceedings during periods of deployment or other military obligations. That said, it does not prevent divorce proceedings from moving forward indefinitely, and jurisdictional issues must be carefully addressed to ensure a fair and legally valid outcome.

That is why you want the Law Office of Andrew Bryant on your side throughout this process. We understand the Colorado divorce process and all applicable federal laws that govern military service members going through this life change. You can trust our knowledge and experience to help guide you seamlessly through your divorce from start to finish.

These factors can increase or decrease over time, which is when a modification of a child support order is warranted.

Military Divorce: Are You Even Eligible to File in Colorado?

As a military member, you know relocation is part of the job. However, frequent relocation may raise questions about whether or not you are eligible to file for divorce in the state of Colorado.

The simple answer? If you want a divorce here, the person who files has to have lived in the state for at least 91 days. Simply being stationed in the state does not create residency. Moreover, as mentioned above, military members may have exceptions to residency requirements under the SCRA or other military regulations.

For those not in the military, residency is verified through a driver’s license or other documentation that shows a person lives in the state. However, military members will need to show a Colorado driver’s license and a Leave & Earnings Statement. You can also present evidence, such as voting registration, but the aforementioned evidence is your best bet.

The Law Office of Andrew Bryant can help service members determine if they qualify as residents of Colorado and if they are eligible to file for divorce in our state. This can help streamline the process for you since it gives the court jurisdiction over the property division in your divorce.

The Unique Challenges Divorcing Colorado Military Members Face

When it comes to navigating divorce in the military, there are several unique challenges that military members face. Some of the areas where you need an experienced legal hand to guide you include:

Child Support

If a military serviceperson fails to pay child support, they can face wage garnishment and punitive action from their command. A knowledgeable and experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney can help you reach an agreement on child support that serves your children’s best interest and is manageable for you.

Child Custody

It can be challenging to determine custody when one parent can be sent to the other side of the world on command. A good custody agreement in a divorce will help ensure your children are appropriately cared for during deployment – and the Law Office of Andrew Bryant can help you achieve that.

Military Pension and SBPS

Protecting your best interests is one of the main reasons to get an attorney during a divorce. This is especially true for service members regarding their military pensions and any Survivor Benefit Plans.

Under the USFSPA, state courts have the authority to divide military pensions as marital property in divorce cases. In Colorado, military pensions are considered marital assets subject to equitable distribution. Additionally, our state allows pensions to be divided reasonably regardless of how long your marriage has lasted. Survivor Benefit Plans can be collected by former spouses if agreed upon in your divorce decree or ordered by the court when your divorce is finalized.

Protecting these assets is another reason to have a qualified attorney to help protect you during a divorce.

How Recent Changes Have Impacted the Division of Military Retirement in Colorado Springs

Several significant changes in recent years have impacted military retirement, a complicated topic in military divorces in Colorado. Knowing these changes is essential when seeking a military divorce.

Frozen Benefits Rule

Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016, the federal government requires each state to use the Frozen Benefit Rule when dividing military retirement. This means a spouse isn’t entitled to share longevity increases or promotions after the divorce.

Indemnity for a VA Waiver

The Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that a state cannot require military retirees who have relinquished retired pay to receive VA disability to compensate their former spouse for the reduction in retirement.

Blended Retirement System

In 2018, a Blended Retirement System was introduced. It combines a 401(k) plan with a traditional military pension.

Every military branch has regulations requiring members to support spouses going through a divorce pending a court order. Once the divorce is finalized and any spousal maintenance and support issues are issued, the decree will state your obligations.

Working with an experienced Colorado military divorce attorney can help you set up the best post-divorce situation for you.

What If a Colorado Military Member Needs to Modify Their Divorce Decree?

Once your divorce is finalized, the terms both of you must follow will be codified in a divorce decree, including any financial obligations or custody arrangements. As you might imagine, changing life circumstances can necessitate alterations in this decree.

Modifying a divorce decree for military members in Colorado follows a similar process to modifying a civilian divorce decree. Still, specific considerations are required due to the unique circumstances of military service.

Here’s an overview of how divorce decree modification works for military members in Colorado:

Child Custody and Visitation

Military service can affect child custody and visitation arrangements due to deployments, relocations, and frequent moves. Courts in Colorado consider the best interests of the child when modifying custody orders, taking into account the unique challenges faced by military families. The court may modify custody and visitation arrangements to accommodate the military member’s schedule while ensuring the child’s welfare remains a priority.

Child Support

Military members’ incomes can vary due to factors such as base pay, allowances, bonuses, and deployments. When modifying child support orders, courts consider the military member’s financial circumstances, including income stability and potential changes in income due to deployments or promotions. Military members must provide accurate financial information to ensure fair child support determinations.


As we briefly touched on above, when a military member receives new orders for relocation, modifications to the divorce decree may be necessary. Colorado courts may consider the military member’s duty station, deployment schedule, and the child’s best interests when modifying custody and visitation orders due to relocation.

Healthcare and Benefits

Military benefits, including healthcare coverage through TRICARE, may impact divorce decree modifications. Changes in military benefits, such as eligibility or coverage, may necessitate adjustments to support orders or provisions for healthcare coverage for the children. Colorado courts may include provisions in modified decrees to address changes in military benefits and ensure continued support for the children.

Spousal Maintenance

Military service can affect spousal support obligations, mainly if the military member’s income changes due to deployments, promotions, or separations. When modifying spousal maintenance orders, courts consider both spouses’ financial needs and circumstances, including the military member’s income and benefits. Colorado courts may adjust spousal support obligations based on changes in the military member’s income or financial situation.

Keep in mind that not all orders for modification are due to hardship. A positive change in financial circumstances, such as a promotion at work or a new job with a higher income, can result in a modification to reflect those better financial circumstances.

Where support is concerned, the court will reject some circumstances as a reason to modify the decree. A good example is a parent who loses their job and immediately files for a modification. The court may reject it because it does not represent a substantial and continuing change in the circumstances.

Contact an Experienced Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney for Immediate Help

Contact top-rated, aggressive Colorado Springs family law attorney Andrew Bryant today for full-service representation. Call Andrew’s law office at 719-634-7353 or email him to schedule a free consultation. Don’t just pick any Divorce Lawyer in Colorado. Pick the one who will bring you success no matter the circumstances of your case.