Military Family Law and Divorce in Mobile Alabama
Marriage and divorce are state court matters, but military personnel have special protections under federal law and special considerations regarding income, property, child custody, marital support and benefits. If one or both spouses are in the military, you need a divorce lawyer who is familiar with these complicating factors. For example, many service members do not realize they can file for and process a divorce while stationed overseas or deployed.
L.J. Stein Family Law has practiced in divorce and family law for more than 20 years. Whether through private consultation, litigation or out-of-court methods, he has helped a number of clients assert their rights, protect their interests and resolve the thorny legal, financial and logistical issues of military divorce:
- Divorce and deployment — The Service Members Civil Relief Act (formerly the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act) protects the rights of military personnel in divorce or custody matters while they are deployed for training or missions. The service member can sometimes delay proceedings until they return from deployment, or appoint a person to act on their behalf. The family court must grant a stay and continuance when military service prevents properly defending a court case, including divorces and custody battles.
- Military retirement benefits — Under current law, spouses of military personnel have a community property interest in the marital estate, including military pensions. In most cases, a dependent spouse has a community property interest in the military spouse’s pension. If the marriage lasted more than 10 years concurrent with 10 years of military service, the spouse can usually collect the retirement directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS).
- Child support — The courts normally consider all sources of a service member’s income, including base pay, basic allowance for housing (BAH), basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), combat pay, flight pay, hazard duty pay, and sometimes reenlistment bonuses.
- Interstate and international custody — During and after divorce, military personnel face special challenges when custody matters cross state or international borders. .
- Parenting Plans — A military parent who does not have custody might be transferred to the other side of the country or deployed overseas. It is expensive to modify the custody order every time a service member is reassigned. We address this with a framework visitation agreement that sets out visitation schedules that make sense. For example, if the military parent is stationed far away, the Parenting Plan might provide for less frequent but longer visitations. We also account for the unpredictability of military leave, allowing military parents to hop on a plane and have child visitation on short notice.
We offer a free, confidential consultation.
Call us at 251-433-7272 to schedule your appointment, or contact us online.