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What Do Virginia Judges Consider When Determining Spousal Support In A Military Divorce?

What Do Virginia Judges Consider When Determining Spousal Support in a Military Divorce?

A military divorce in Virginia isn’t just about ending a marriage; it’s about ensuring a fair division of military benefits and deciding on spousal support. This can be a daunting process, especially given the specialized rules that apply and the multitude of factors judges consider when making spousal support decisions.

If you have questions about military divorces and spousal support in Virginia Beach, this is precisely where Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. can make a difference. Our dedicated team has the experience with and understanding of the nuances of military divorces to advise and guide you, whether you serve in the armed forces or are a military spouse. Understanding how judges make spousal support decisions in your specific situation is vital, and we can provide that clarity.

What Laws Apply to Military Divorces in Virginia Beach?

When it comes to military divorces in Virginia Beach, a dual set of laws comes into play. As with any divorce proceeding in the state, Virginia divorce laws dictate key aspects such as grounds for divorce, division of property, child custody, and spousal support. However, military divorces introduce an additional layer of complexity, as they also fall under specific federal statutes.

One federal law that often affects military divorces is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA). This act, which Congress passed in 1982, pertains to the potential division of military retirement pay in a divorce. Unlike civilian retirement accounts, which are often considered marital property, military retirement pay was initially considered the service member’s separate property. The USFSPA changed this, allowing state courts to treat “disposable retired pay” as marital property, which can be divided between spouses upon divorce. Understanding how the USFSPA interacts with Virginia law during a military divorce can be complicated and typically requires help from a law firm like Hardt Law, P.L.L.C., which understands the nuances of these sensitive cases.

What Does ‘Disposable Retired Pay’ Mean in a Military Divorce?

According to information from the Army, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017 changed the definition of “disposable retired pay.” Under the new definition, disposable retired pay refers to retirement benefits someone in the armed forces accrued based on their rank and years of service on the date the courts finalize a divorce, separation, or annulment. Depending on how long someone has served in the military and other factors, these benefits could be substantial. The amount of these benefits will likely affect a judge’s decision regarding spousal support and how to divide marital property.

What Do Virginia Judges Consider When Deciding on Spousal Support?

Military divorces in Virginia Beach must abide by state laws for most aspects of a divorce. The Code of Virginia lists more than a dozen factors judges must consider when making spousal support decisions. Those factors include:

  • Both spouses’ financial resources and debts, including any pensions or retirement accounts
  • The standard of living for both spouses during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age and health
  • Each spouse’s ability to earn a living
  • Whether one spouse might need to stay home and raise any children from the marriage, particularly children with special needs
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, both monetary and non-monetary
  • Each spouse’s individual property and assets
  • The existence of a valid prenuptial agreement
  • The potential tax consequences for each spouse

A Virginia Beach Military Divorce Lawyer Can Protect Your Rights

Attorney Patricia Hardt and the rest of the Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. team have spent their careers helping people through the challenges involved in spousal support in military divorces. If you serve in the military or are a military spouse and mean to divorce in Virginia, we can provide the legal guidance and emotional support you need during this difficult moment. Call (757) 962-5588 or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation.

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