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 a complex matter even in ordinary circumstances when you throw in 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 find resolutions to their divorce and establish arrangements to help their families move forward.
Colorado Springs Military Divorce: What Is It?
The same statutes apply to all divorces in the state of 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.
That is why you want the Law Office of Andrew Bryant on your side throughout this process. We understand not only the Colorado divorce process but also 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 that 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 for you.
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.
Of course, not all orders for modification are due to hardship. A positive change in a parent’s financial circumstances, such as a promotion at work or a new job with a higher income, can result in a child support modification to reflect those better financial circumstances.
There are some circumstances that the court will reject as a reason to modify child support. A good example is a parent who loses their job and immediately files for a modification. The court may reject it because it’s not a substantial and continuing change in the circumstances.
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:
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 to you.
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 to achieve that.
Military Pension and SBPS
Protecting your best interests is one of the main reasons to get an attorney when you’re going through a divorce. This is especially true for service members regarding their military pensions and any Survivor Benefit Plans.
Our state allows pensions to be divided reasonably regardless of how long your marriage has lasted. Survivor Benefit Plans can also be collected by former spouses if agreed upon in your divorce decree or ordered by the court when your divorce is finalized. This is yet another reason to have a qualified attorney on your side to help protect you during a divorce.
How Recent Changes Have Impacted the Division of Military Retirement in Colorado Springs
There have been several major changes in recent years that impact military retirement – a complicated topic in military divorces in Colorado. It’s important to be aware of these changes 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) style plan with a traditional military pension.
Every military branch has regulations requiring its members to support spouses going through a divorce pending a court order. Once the divorce is finalized and any issues regarding alimony and support are issued, the divorce decree will state your obligations.
Working with an experienced Colorado military divorce attorney can help you to help set up a post-divorce situation that is best for you.