Navigating the complicated terrain of divorce is overwhelming enough, but when one or both parties are military servicemembers, the process can become even more complex. At Boal Law Firm, we understand that military divorces involve unique considerations that go beyond the scope of civilian divorces. In this article, we’ll touch on these differences to help you understand what a military divorce in Colorado entails.
Jurisdiction and Residency
In a civilian divorce, the couple typically files for divorce in the state where they currently reside. However, in military divorces, spouses are in many cases already living separately and faced with a choice of whether to file in the state where the military member is stationed or the state where the spouse resides1. This decision of where to file can sometimes be difficult to figure out based on factors like how long spouses and children have been living in various states and where the property is located.
Service of Process
If an active-duty military spouse is served with divorce proceedings while deployed, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain protections. It allows the service member to request a “stay” of proceedings, which postpones the divorce action for the period of their deployment plus 60 days2.
Division of Military Pensions
The division of military pensions in a divorce can be quite complex. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), state courts divide disposable military retired pay as a marital asset in a divorce proceeding3. However, the “10/10 Rule” applies – the couple must have been married for at least ten years overlapping with ten years of service for Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to make direct retirement payments to the former spouse4.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody and visitation can be more complicated in military divorces due to deployments, relocations, and the servicemembers’ need to PCS and deploy. Colorado courts consider the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements, which can be challenging when one parent is frequently moving or deployed.
Spousal and Child Support
In Colorado, both spousal and child support calculations are typically based on the parties’ income. For military divorces, the calculation includes the service member’s base pay, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)5. State child support enforcement agencies, in many cases, must work through DFAS to ensure that child and spousal support orders are enforced.
Military divorces involve complexities not typically found in civilian divorces. Boal Law Firm has handled many military divorce cases and understands the unique challenges they sometimes present. If you’re a military servicemember or a military spouse at Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Shriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain Complex, JBTEC, or the Air Force Academy and are considering divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to Boal Law Firm in Colorado Springs for the specialized legal guidance you need.
Please note that this article is intended to be a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a qualified family law attorney for advice specific to your situation.
- Military Divorce: Dividing Military Pensions ↩
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) ↩
- The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act ↩
- 10 U.S. Code § 1408 – Payments of retired or retainer pay in compliance with court orders ↩
- Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14. Domestic Matters § 14-10-115 ↩