America is justifiably proud of the members of its armed services. The servicemen and servicewomen that serve our country with such honor deserve the utmost respect and gratitude from every US citizen.
As US citizens themselves, military personnel are subject to American laws and regulations. However, the US Government also recognizes that service life is different from civilian life, especially when living overseas and regularly facing danger. For that reason, specialized rules apply to the military in areas like healthcare, pensions, disability payments, divorce, and more.
If you’re wondering about the specific implications for divorces involving military personnel in Arizona, we have the answers. In this easy-to-read article, we’ll explain where the special conditions apply, how figures are calculated for child support, alimony, and remarriage, and how deductions are made. We’ll also include practical advice on other key considerations for divorcing service personnel and their spouses. Read on to learn more.
Divorce law is complex at the best of times. There are even more rules and complications when children and a member of the military are involved. Ultimately, everything can be resolved, but if you’re part of a military divorce, be aware that the process may take longer than it would with a civilian separation.
There’s no one answer regarding how much can be deducted from military members’ pay for child support, alimony, and remarriage. Every case is unique and must be examined individually.
Military divorces differ from civilian divorces in many practical, financial, procedural, and legal ways. It may be impossible to serve divorce papers if your spouse is away for a six-month tour of duty on a submarine, for example. Also, your partner may be based in one state while you live in another, which means you’ll need to decide where to file. That’s a critical decision because every state has its divorce laws and interpretations.
There are many differences when one or both divorcing spouses are in the military: these include the additional length of time to respond to the petition, the division of a military pension, health insurance, how payments are processed, tax implications, and more.
Once custody has been decided, the next step is to look at child support. It's calculated by looking at relevant factors like the child’s age and needs, the parent’s respective incomes, the number of children, and more.
For alimony, the courts also consider a wide range of factors, including each spouse’s income and outgoings, ages, the length of the marriage, the higher earner’s ability to pay, and several other factors.
Alimony isn’t always awarded, and even when it is, the courts in Arizona have a reputation for taking a rehabilitative approach. That means payments may be limited in time and designed to encourage the recipient to become financially self-sufficient.
Alimony and child support payments in civilian and military divorces may be calculated similarly and might be time-limited. Child support typically stops at 18 years, or 19 for high school students, while alimony ends once the recipient has had sufficient time to gain the ability to support themselves.
As ever, there are exceptions, like a disabled child who needs life-long care or a spouse nearing retirement age who might struggle to find employment. Remarriage is unlikely to change any court-ordered payments unless it substantially impacts the recipient’s financial situation. If that happens, a judge may decide to modify the terms of the court order, but it’s by no means certain.
With civilian and military divorces, any settlement aims to maintain the pre-divorce standard of living for all parties. However, there are some differences for members of the armed forces.
First, child and spousal maintenance can’t be more than 60% of the serving member’s income. Second, payments are deducted directly by DFAS (Defense Financial And Accounting Service). Third, if the military member breaches the court order, you can write to their commanding officer and ask them to enforce it.
Child support, alimony payments, and custody schedules can be decided outside of court, but it’s not legally enforceable unless a final agreement is notarized in court. If you and your spouse remain on good terms, it’s generally best for you to work alongside your lawyers and draw up a mutually acceptable agreement. You can then get it formally signed off by the courts.
There’s no doubt that service life can put extra stresses and strains on a relationship, especially when the serving member is away for extended periods or is facing live combat. Marriage can have ups and downs, so it’s worth exploring every option to see if you can save it if yours is under pressure. Maybe by refocusing on your partnership, you can rekindle the spark. Or, you might also consider other options, like a legal separation.
Whether you’re a serving member of the US military or married to someone that is, a trusted family lawyer can provide expert help, support, and guidance through all stages of a separation. They can act as a mediator, assist you in preparing for your divorce, help to draft a comprehensive settlement agreement, and represent you in court if your case goes that far. Divorces involving a military member are incredibly complicated, so the surest course of action is to engage with a professional.
Your final divorce papers are some of the most important documents you’ll ever sign, so you should always scrutinize the fine print before committing. An experienced family attorney will ensure that your agreement is fair, all-encompassing, and fully enforceable.
With all the additional complications and regulations associated with a military divorce, seeking professional advice from a trusted source makes sense. The friendly team at Marble has experience in this area, and with a free case assessment, you’ll know exactly where you stand. Call us now for more details!