Service Members include all members of our armed forces or military. Each branch of the military has a unique mission within the overall mission of U.S. security and peace. The Law Firm of Edward Misleh is proud of the fact that it has helped service members, deployed troops, and representatives of the foreign service to obtain divorce decrees, establish or modify custody orders, modify spousal support, and to address other family law matters.
The Law Offices of Edward Misleh, APC is a Sacramento law firm, located in Sacramento, California that practices family law and represents clients in Sacramento, California and clients in Northern California with services they need and deserve when addressing a military divorce. Call now our Lawyer Hotline. We offer a free consultation to all new clients. Call now 916-443-1267 for your free consultation.
Sacramento Military Divorce
A Sacramento Military Divorce is a divorce filed in the State of California where one or both spouses are military service members.
We salute those who serve in one of the following United States of America military branches:
- Air Force Air Force Reserve: The nation’s source of air and space power. The primary mission of the USAF is to fly planes, helicopters, and satellites.
- Air National Guard: The Air National Guard as we know it today is a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force.
- Army and Army Reserve: The dominant land power that moves in to an area, secures it, and instills order and values before it leaves. It also guards U.S. installations and properties throughout the world.
- Army National Guard: An elite group of warriors who dedicate a portion of their time to serving their nation. Each state has its own Guard and is the only branch of the military whose existence is actually required by the Constitution.
- Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve: The branch that is primarily concerned with protecting domestic waterways. The Coast Guard does rescues, law enforcement, drug prevention, and clears waterways.
- Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve: The Marine Corps is known as the U.S. Rapid-reaction Force. They are trained to fight by sea and land, and usually are the first “boots on the ground.” Marines are known as the world’s fiercest warriors.
- Navy and Navy Reserve: Those involved in missions not only primarily by sea, but also by air and land. It secures and protects the oceans around the world to create peace and stability, making the seas safe for travel and trade.
Sacramento Military Divorce
Military personnel who are getting divorced are no different than anyone else, so the procedural process is the same. If you are in the military or a military spouse, there are some additional factors that can affect your divorce.
The process may take longer if one of you is on active duty in a remote area or have a permanent station overseas. There are some states that have relaxed the residency requirements for active duty service personnel who want to file for divorce in the state he or she is stationed.
Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)
Military couples need to consider the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act when they get divorced. The USFSPA provides a federal statute for the military, guiding them to accept state statutes on addressing issues, such as child support, spousal support and military retirement pay/pension. While states have always had the authority to treat retirement and pension plans just like any other marital asset, the USFSPA permits the states to classify military retired pay as property, as opposed to income.
Military Retirement Pay/Pension
Direct retirement payments are made through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. In order for the military to provide direct retirement payments to an ex-spouse, the couple must have been married 10 years overlapping with 10 years of service. Not qualifying for the DFAS direct pay does not mean you are ineligible to a portion of the payment. In order to receive your portion, the criteria would need to be included as part of the divorce settlement agreement. Keep in mind that the award of military retired pay may be in addition to child support, and alimony or maintenance.
The maximum amount of pension income an ex-spouse can receive is 50% of the military retirement pay. Once the order is filed with DFAS, it will take three months (90 days) for the direct payments to begin if the ex-spouse is already receiving their pension. In the situation of active military members, the payments will begin 90 days after the newly retired member becomes entitled to receive their first payment. If child support is being taken from the pension, the maximum combined amount that can be deducted is 65% of the disposable retirement pay.
Calculating the Marital Share for Active Members
There are different methods of calculating what percentage of the pension to which ex-spouses are entitled. The document filed with the court will need to clearly state the formula used to derive the amount of payment. One of the more common trends is to count the amount of points accumulated in the marriage rather than months. This is especially true for spouses serving in the Reserves.
The three methods used to determine amount of payment are:
- Net Present Value – often used when one spouse wants an up-front buyout of the other.
- Deferred Distribution – the shared amounts is calculated at divorce with the receipt of the funds deferred until the service member retires.
- Reserve Jurisdiction – the share the ex-spouse receives is calculated at retirement.
Thrift Savings Plan
The thrift savings plan is treated the same as a 401(k). There are specific requirements that must be met by the court order that differ from a civilian retirement plan division order.
Survivor Benefits Plan
Many spouses think that if they were the beneficiary of the Survivor Benefit Plan while married, they will remain so upon divorce. This is not true, and SBP is a mutually exclusive benefit that must be addressed in the divorce settlement.
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