Colorado Military Divorce, custody or dependent care when one party is in the military often creates unique issues. For over 20 years, Marc Patoile and our experienced team of family law attorneys and paralegals have skillfully assisted our service members in resolving these complex military matters in dissolution of marriage or paternity cases.
From jurisdictional issues, removal of children to other states, custody and parenting time issues when a military service member is deployed, to child support and maintenance calculations, military divorces can have issues which differ from other divorces.
Mr. Patoile and his team of seasoned family law attorneys work closely with our managing partner, Aaron Barrick who is a retired JAG Colonel and who wasw the Senior Legal Advisor and General Counsel to the Adjutant General for Colorado. In this capacity, Mr. Barrick has overseen all legal personnel in the state militia and was responsible for all matters of state and federal law impacting the national guard and its more than 4,500 military members and their families. He is a former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force. He maintains a top secret security clearance.
Military divorces where one or both party are serving in the military, when a seasoned Colorado military divorce attorney is involved, often start with a jurisdictional concern as to whether the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act or UIFSA apply. Second, a consideration of service regulations for family support and accelerated determinations of support may apply. Having a skilled attorney is essential for non-military spouses to assist them in readling Leave and Earnings Statements (LES), pay charts, and determining allowances.
And for military members or spouses of military members, either active or retired, military retirement benefits often represent the most valuable asset in the marital estate. Division of military pensions often presents challenges for those unskilled in this area of the law due to unique rules that govern military retirement pay and the applicable federal laws and procedures, and jurisdictional issues. Identifying the appropriate methods of division for a servicemember’s pension is essential and we have the skills to deal with the division of this unique asset. We also ensure that a retiree’s ability to thwart pension division by election of disability benefits doesn’t result in a reduction of the marital share of benefits. Further, basing the division on a number of years (or months) based calculation can be the wrong result for a reservist.
Understanding the cost, benefits and implementation of the Survivor Benefit Plan, the survivor annuity in the event the servicemember predeceases the former spouse, is also critical. Divorcing parties need to become aware of the deadlines for application, selection of the base amount, and a clear decision be made on how the costs of the premiums will be addressed. Allocation of the dependency exemption for minor children for tax purposes as well as designating a primary residential custodian for state and federal statutes which require such a designation are also important considerations in Colorado military divorces.
Military retirement benefits often represent the most valuable asset in a military marital estate. Division of military pensions often presents challenges due to unique rules that govern military retirement pay, applicable federal laws and procedures, and jurisdictional issues. Our attorneys are skilled in dealing with these challenges. Most divorce attorenys are not familiar with military statutes and regulations, such as the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SMCRA), “Must Have” Documents such as LES (Leave and Earnings Statement issues), Active Duty vs. Reserve/Guard Retirement – “Points” vs. “Time” as it relates to military retirment issues, other military benefits such as Tricare, etc. They don’t teach these issues in law school, but our attorney’s have developed extensive experience with military divorce jurisdiction issues, VA Disability Compensation, Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP), Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC), Uniformed Services Former Spousal Protection Act (USFSPA) Division, and Dividing the Accrued Leave in Colorado military divorce.
A fair division of a service member’s retirement benefits is essential, including providing for provisions in the event of the election of disability benefits indemnification provisions. Understanding the costs, benefits and eligibility for designation of the Survivor Benefit Plan (a survivor annuity in the event the service member predeceases the former spouse), is also critical. Our skilled family law attorneys know where to direct clients for application, selection of the base amount, and who will pay the premiums.
Understanding how Tricare medical benefits and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program affects divorcing parties is critical. And lastly, but most importantly, parenting time and family care plans dealing with potential depolyment are critical for parents involved in a military service member’s divorce. We await your call if you would like to discuss any of these issues with our skilled legal team.
Call us now at 303-688-3045 for a free telephone assessment to see if we can help you with your Colorado military divorce matter.