Military Divorce in Colorado Springs
We offer a 10% Military Discount!
Graham.Law is truly a military divorce law firm – probably ⅓ of our cases involve the military, and most of us either veterans or family members. Or both. We have deployed, we have lived the military experience, and we have helped countless military families with their family law needs. In short, we have the expertise to represent you in your military family law case.
For a brief overview of some of the issues involved with a military divorce, see the article Understanding Military Divorce in Colorado in the Colorado Family Law Guide. You’ll no doubt recognize several issues unique to the military that apply to your family law case.
And then, if you would like a much more in-depth explanation of military family law issues, read our Military Divorce Guide – since 2001, this has been the go-to resource for lawyers and litigants alike.
What is a Military Divorce?
To the outside world, a divorce involving a military member or retiree is just like any other case. There are no special courts, the judges are the same, the pleadings and forms are the same, etc. And if you look in the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, which Colorado has adopted, the same statutes apply to all divorces, whether military or civilian. Legally, there is no such thing as a “military divorce.”
But those of us who represent military members and spouses know that everything is not the same with a military family law case. Even before the case starts, when consulting with someone from our military community, we ask extra questions to make sure that Colorado even has jurisdiction to grant a dissolution of marriage. Simply living in Colorado pursuant to military orders, without more, is not sufficient to establish residence – we know that, because we have fought and won motions to dismiss when neither the military member or spouse is a Colorado resident.
And even if the spouse is a legal resident, federal law prohibits states from dividing military retirement unless the military member is a Colorado resident, or has consented to jurisdiction.
Knowing these rules is what separates a true military expert from those who dabble in such cases.
What if the Military Member Deploys During the Divorce?
Deployments are a fact of life for the military. Fortunately, they are not as long or frequent as they were a decade or so ago, but the reality is that a military member may deploy. If the member deploys while while the case is pending, he may “stay” the proceedings until the deployment ends under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
And even once the case is done, if a military parent deploys, she needs to have an attorney who understands how to protect her rights under the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody & Visitation Act. We have litigated cases under the Act, and our managing partner teaches the deployed parents act to fellow attorneys at CLEs (click to see the outline he teaches to attorneys).
What happens to support while the member is deployed? Does family separation pay or HFP count as income for purposes of calculating support and maintenance? For more information, read our article Understanding Military Pay & the LES in a Divorce.
Military Retirement, SBP & VA Disability
The division of military retirement has long been a complicated topic, and three major changes since 2016 have made that especially true:
- Frozen Benefit Rule. Introduced with the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the federal government now requires states to follow the Frozen Benefit Rule when dividing a military retirement, under which the spouse is not entitled to share in any post-divorce promotions or longevity increases.
- Blended Retirement System. New for 2018, the Blended Retirement System combines the traditional military pension (reducing the annual credit from 2.5% to 2%) with a 401(k) style plan (a beefed-up TSP with a government match).
- Indemnity for a VA Waiver. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Howell1Howell vs Howell, 137 S.Ct. 1400 (2017). that states could not require a military retiree who waived retired pay to receive VA disability to indemnity the former spouse for the reduction in retirement.
If you are the spouse, you need to understand the Survivor Benefit Plan – not only to make sure it is implemented, but also because if you miss the 1-year deadline to apply for SBP, you’ve potentially lost it forever!
Spouse Entitlements to Military Benefits
Each branch of the armed services has a regulation requiring their members to support spouses during separation, pending a court order. After a court orders support or alimony, does your attorney know how to garnish military or retired pay?
Once divorced, the spouse may be entitled to 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 Tricare health and other benefits.
Award-Winning Military Divorce Attorneys
The list of issues unique to a “military divorce” goes on – this article doesn’t, so we urge you to dig deeper into the Military Divorce Guide for more details, and more issues that may arise.
Make sure your attorney understands the military. There are a lot of great family law attorneys in Colorado Springs, but not all of them understand the military, and fewer still truly know the issues like the veteran military divorce lawyers at Graham.Law
We have won several awards which show our family law skills (including being just one of three domestic relations firms in Colorado Springs to make the list of Best Law Firms in America from U.S. News & World Report. And we’re the only firm in town to have repeatedly won the Best Military Lawyers in Colorado Springs from Colorado Springs Style Magazine. (Goofy name, but this is actually an honor voted on by members of the El Paso County Bar Association).
Please consider Graham.Law for your military family law needs. You will not be disappointed.
Coronavirus - Colorado Family Law Safety Under COVID-19
Covid: State Won't Suspend License for Support Arrears
Good vs Bad Co-Parenting in a Colorado Divorce
No-Fault Divorce Survives Legal Challenges
Joint Title Not Defeat Separate Property Claim at Divorce
Spouse Awarded Proportional Share of Account Value Increase
Carl Graham is by far the best divorce attorney I have used and would highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for an ethical, knowledgable, fair attorney. My case was not your normal circumstanc... read moreGary Oldguy3/17/2020
As a former military spouse trying to collect my share of my ex's military retirement from California when the divorce decree and all the supporting documents were filed in Colorado i was apprehensive... read moreJanine Pandher3/01/2020
Where do I begin? Well AFTER have a consultation with another attorney ( who made me feel as though i was undeserving of his expertise) I was extremely apprehensive when coming to Graham Law. This was... read moreChris Whitfield2/07/2020
Mr. Carl Graham, Cindi (his paralegal), and the rest of his office staff helped us with a military divorce. Mr. Graham is very knowledgeable about military ways and processes. I appreciated the fact... read moreShelle Dier1/08/2020
If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, first I would like to say I’m sorry you are going through this. It isn’t and easy road. I know sometimes things just don’t work out to save your marriage. Ho... read moreTrevor Lisby11/26/2019
If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, first I would like to say I’m sorry you are going through this. It isn’t and easy road. I know sometimes things just don’t work out to save your marriage. Ho... read moreTrevor Lisby10/30/2019
I called Graham law firm to schedule a consultation and spoke with Corinna. When beginning your search for information with any family matters there are many questions and a sense of anxiety of the u... read moreKathlena Williams8/26/2019
I was divorced in CO but moved to TX & had issues with my divorce decree from a previous attorney- after referrals from several other firms in CO regarding the best military law firm I went with Graha... read moreSarah DeLorean8/26/2019
Carl and his team are awesome and super easy to work with. His knowledge is tremendous and he quickly handled my case despite me being across the country. I would do business with his team again and... read moreMichael Brooks5/26/2019
I was impressed by Graham Law in general but most impressed with Brian Boney. Brian is an excellent family law attorney. Attentive, detail-oriented, and hard-working, Brian surpassed my expectations f... read moreRobert Weeks5/26/2019
Mr. Grahm was professional, knowledgable and very prepared. He was also kind and understanding. He knew his military in's and outs. Because of this is got exactly what I was asking for... a swift a... read moreMAMCO STAFF4/26/2019
I had the unpleasant task of taking my ex back to court. Carl was the person for the job. His attention to detail and professionalism got me the result I needed. Sincere thanks to Carl and his great s... read moreLisa Bruinsma4/26/2019
Brian did an amazing job helping me with a personal matter! Its not the first time I ask Brian for help, and every time he exceeds my expectations! Thank you for your kindness, understanding and suppo... read moreIryna Volynets4/26/2019
Divorce is never easy, but Carl and his warm team helped me navigate this very difficult time. This was a military divorce, so Carl's expertise helped me understand exactly what my options were as a f... read moreKara Longmire4/26/2019
I have had two occasions that I have needed Carl Graham's assistance with child support issues and both times Mr. Graham and his team were amazing. Mr. Graham is straight forward and honest. I highly ... read moreJason Ragland4/26/2019