Military Divorce in virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia Military Divorce Lawyer

Military life is hard on families. The stress of long deployments to war zones and the difficulty many soldiers have resuming family life after an extended tour of duty can tear marriages apart.

 

Has your marriage become a casualty of war? Have you tried your best to make a go of your marriage and it’s just not working? Is it time to consider divorce? Contact Burroughs Law Office, P.C. today to find out how we can help.
— Attorney Lawren D. Burroughs

If you or your spouse is in the military, divorce may be a more complex issue for you than it is for the average civilian couple. It is important to retain an attorney who understands all the special considerations involved when members of the military legally separate or divorce.

At Burroughs Law Office, P.C. in Virginia Beach, we understand the complex issues unique to a military divorce including:

  • Military retirement issues and division of military pensions
  • How military pay is determined and divided in a divorce
  • Survivor benefit plans
  • Military disability pay
  • How the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act applies
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) issues

Divorce and family law attorney Lawrence D. Burroughs II not only practices law; he teaches at Saint Leo University, including Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia and Dam Neck and Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. He is experienced in handling all the issues involved in military divorce cases. Even if you are stationed out of state or out of the country, we can make certain your voice is heard and your rights are protected in all military divorce matters.

The law does not require that you retain an attorney who is experienced in military divorce; but it is in your best interest to do so.
— Attorney Lawren D. Burroughs

Child custody, visitation, child supportalimonydivision of property and other issues involved in the dissolution of any marriage can become more complicated in a military divorce.

This is especially true with pensions. Non-military spouses are often entitled to receive military pensions, but the reverse is also true. If you have a pension, then your military spouse may be entitled to receive a portion of it. We can help work out an equitable agreement for you.

We can help you through each step in the divorce process efficiently and cost-effectively. If you have a substantial change in circumstances after the divorce decree is signed, we can petition the court for a post-decree modification of the court order.

20 Questions Answered About Military Divorce in Virginia:

1. Can I file for divorce in virginia when I (or my spouse) am (is) in the military and either one of us does not currently reside in virginia?

Jurisdiction in Virginia divorce cases is proper where either party resides in and is a bona fide resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia at the time of filing the Complaint for Divorce and has been forsix (6) months or more next preceding the commencement of the suit for divorce. If neither party meets this requirement, then a divorce action would not be proper in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the event a complaint for divorce is filed in Virginia where jurisdiction is not proper, the court should not allow the case to advance any further. The entire case will likely need to be non-suited or dismissed.

What if the moving party resides here in Virginia, but is in the military and claims another state as his or her home of record? According to Section 20-97 of the 1950 Code of Virginia, if a person is a member of the armed forces of the United States and is stationed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and has lived for a period of six (6) months or more in Virginia next proceeding the commencement of filing, jurisdiction is proper. This includes a service member stationed on or residing on a base in Virginia.

What if the non-servicemember resides in a state other than Virginia and the service member is stationed overseas? A foreign service officer or service member who is stained overseas at the time the military divorce case is filed and who was domiciled in Virginia for at least six (6) months before being stationed overseas is considered to be a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia.

While you may be permitted to file in Virginia based on any one of the above scenarios, an attorney can help you decide whether it makes sense in your particular case. In contested cases, if the non-resident respondent protests, he or she may be successful in transferring the entire suit to another state. The same is true in a battle over venue within the state. In an uncontested case, this won't be an issue. Parties proceeding uncontested are typically filing based on no fault grounds for divorce and have most, if not all, issues worked out in advance of filing.

Whatever you decide, please consider consulting a licensed Virginia military divorce lawyer to help you make a well-informed decision.

2. What advice should I accept from JAG?

Typically, JAG will not get involved in a military divorce matter. Divorce is a state matter, not a military or federal matter. And while a military attorney can give a person general advice about separation and divorce procedures, it is not advisable. To be fair, JAG is not involved in these matters on a daily basis. Even if a JAG officer handling such a matter is licensed in Virginia, he or she is NOT a Virginia military divorce lawyer. The military is most likely concerned with assisting it's servicemembers or their spouses in resolving dispute(s) quickly and efficiently, with as little, if any, impact on the servicemember's military duties. Balancing the military's interest of defending our nation with a servicemember's legal interests in a civil proceeding is challenging at best. These interests are often in conflict with one another and a servicemember will likely fair much better with a Virginia military divorce lawyer, than with a JAG officer.

3. How many years of marriage must overlap with creditable military services before I (or my spouse) will be entitled to a portion of his or her (my) military pension?

So many people are misinformed on this topic. This can result in harm to the person seeking to exercise his or her rights in a servicemember's military pension. They myth we hear most often is that a couple must be married a minimum of ten (10) years in order to acquire any benefit in a servicemember's military pension. Somehow, this myth is derived from the 20/20/10 rule concerning direct pay by DFAS of a servicemember's military pension and it couldn't be further from the truth. While there is no bright line rule when it comes to military pensions, the portion that was acquired during a marriage may be subject to equitable distribution in Virginia.

According to Section 20-107.3 of the Virginia Code, the amount of any division or transfer of jointly owned marital property, and the amount of any monetary award, the apportionment of marital debts, and the method of payment shall be determined by the court after consideration of eleven (11) factors. They are as follows:

  1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
  3. The duration of the marriage;
  4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
  5. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivisions (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95;
  6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
  7. The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
  8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
  9. The tax consequences to each party;
  10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and
  11. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.

What this essentially means is, the portion of the military pension that is acquired during the marriage is divisible by the court. There is no ten (10) year threshold when it comes to eligibility.

A common formula goes something like this: First, determine the marital share of the servicemember's military pension by dividing the number of years that a couple is married that overlap with the servicemember's creditable military service by the total number of years of the servicemember's creditable military service. Then multiply the result by the non-servicemember's share of the marital share. This number is generally fifty percent (50%). This formula is not binding in any way, but it is an easy way to figure out how the military pension may be divided by the court.

As an example, say a couple is married for a total of ten (10) years and that five (5) of those years overlapped with the servicemember spouse's twenty (20) years in the United States Navy. This means that the fraction is five years over twenty years and the result being twenty-five percent (25%). In this example, twenty-five percent (25%) of the servicemember's military pension with the United States Navy is the marital share. If the non-servicemember's share is equal to fifty percent (50%), then that spouse would be entitled to fifty percent (50%) of twenty-five percent (25%) of the servicemember's military pension, or twelve and one-half percent (12.5%). So, you see, in this case, a five (5) year marriage resulted in the non-servicemember spouse acquiring a twelve and one-half percent (12.5%) share of the military pension.

Again, it's not set in stone, but it is a good starting point.

4. Can my spouse serve me with divorce papers in Virginia while I am deployed?

Unfortunately, this happens a lot more often than people tend to believe. What it amounts to is person filing a complaint for divorce with a Virginia Circuit Court and then having the servicemember served in any manner authorized under Sections 8.01-296 or 8.01-320 of the Virginia Code. Some serve the servicemember at his or her home knowing full well that he or she is deployed. This is one of the reasons that Section 8.01-15.2 of the Virginia Code was enacted. It requires that a plaintiff file with the court an affidavit stating whether the defendant is in the United States military and showing necessary facts to support the affidavit; or if the plaintiff is unable to determine whether the defendant is in the United States military, stating that the plaintiff is unable to determine whether the defendant is in the United States military before the court will enter a judgment by default in any civil action or proceeding in which the defendant does not make an appearance.

Any judgment by default entered by any court in any civil action or proceeding in violation of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act may be set aside as provided by the Act. This is not, however, a ground to set aside an otherwise valid default judgment against a defendant who was not, at the time of service of process or entry of default judgment, a service member.

If you learn that your spouse has served you by some form of substituted service, knowing you are deployed and that you are otherwise protected under the SCRA, you should contact and hire a qualified Virginia military divorce lawyer immediately. While you are protected by law and may have recourse after a judgment by default is improperly entered, you can avoid that mess and still request that the court take notice of your spouse's misrepresentation.

5. Can I remove my spouse as beneficiary on my SGLI before we are divorced?

As with many legal questions, the answer depends. Effective July 1, 2014, Section 20-103 of the Virginia Code is amended to provide that a court may "compel a party to maintain any existing policy owned by that party insuring the life of either party or to require a party to name as a beneficiary of the policy the other party or an appropriate person for the exclusive use and benefit of the minor children of the parties and to allocate the premium cost of such life insurance between the parties, provided that all premiums are billed to the policyholder. Nothing in [this clause] shall be construed to create an independent cause of action on the part of any beneficiary against the insurer or to require an insurer to provide information relating to such policy to any person other than the policyholder without the written consent of the policyholder."

If the beneficiary designation is changed on a life insurance policy prior to a complaint being filed with a Virginia Circuit Court, then technically there is nothing to prevent a person from doing this other than restrictions imposed by the insurance provider itself. Even after a complaint for divorce is filed in Virginia, it is the plaintiff's responsibility to request this type of relief. If the plaintiff is proceeding pro se (without an attorney) or his or her attorney did not think to request this on the plaintiff's behalf, there may be no court-ordered prohibition against it. Even if that is the case, you should consult an attorney before making the decision to remove your spouse as a beneficiary on any life insurance policies if you are contemplating a separation or divorce. While you may be permitted to do so, you may choose not to after being more fully informed.

6. What can the Virginia courts do while I am deployed with regard to visitation of our child(ren)?

The Virginia courts are permitted to enter an order regarding issues of child custody, visitation, and child support while a servicemember is deployed. That being the case, any court order limiting previously ordered custodial or visitation rights of a deploying parent or guardian due to the parent's or guardian's deployment shall specify the deployment as a basis for the order and shall be entered by the court as a temporary order in accordance with Section 20-124.8 of the Virginia Code.

The deploying parent may also petition the court to delegate visitation to a family member, including a stepparent, with whom the child has a close and substantial relationship. Upon finding that such delegation is in the best interests of the child, the court may enter an order delegating visitation that:

  1. Delegates all or a portion of the deploying parent's or guardian's visitation rights to such family member, if the deploying parent or guardian had visitation rights with the child prior to the deployment; or
  2. Provides visitation rights to such family member, if the deploying parent or guardian had physical custody of the child prior to the deployment and the nondeploying parent or guardian, or a family member of the nondeploying parent or guardian, is awarded physical custody during the deployment.

When the deploying parent or guardian is returning from deployment and he or she seeks to amend or review a custody or visitation order entered based upon deployment, the court shall set a hearing on the matter within 30 days of the filing of said motion.

7. What benefits am I entitled to when my military spouse and I are divorced?

The answer to this questions depends on the duration of the marriage that overlaps with a servicemember's years of creditable military service. Here are a few thresholds to consider:

The first threshold is for a couple with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service, but fewer than ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. The former military spouse is not entitled to any military benefits other than medical coverage availability through the Continued Health Care Benefits Program to include TRICARE or TRICARE Prime. If elected, Continued Health Care Benefits Program is available for up to thirty-six (36) months (conditions may apply). As of 2014, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program costs $1,193.00 per quarter for individuals and $2,682.00 per quarter for families. The former military spouse is responsible for paying for this coverage. Minor children born or adopted by the servicemember are eligible for continued medial and dental coverage as dependents as well as any other dependent military privileges.

If the former military spouse is court ordered to receive a share of the servicemember's military pension, then that payment must be paid by the servicemember him or herself. DFAS will not make direct payments to former military spouse recipients. At twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service, DFAS will pay the former military spouse recipient directly.

The next threshold is twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least fifteen (15) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. In addition to the benefits provided for servicemembers with ten (10) or fewer years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service, the former military spouse is entitled to one (1) year of transitional medical benefits. If he or she elects to continue coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program, that can effectively extend coverage for up to a total of four (4) full years.

The final threshold is twenty (20) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service. In this case, a former military spouse is entitled to all military benefits and installation privileges, including medical, commissary, and exchanges.

8. What is the 20/20/10 rule?

A former military spouse with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least ten (10) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service is entitled to receive direct payments of his or her court ordered share of the servicemember's disposable retired pay. The former military spouse may also elect to receive continued medical coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program for up to thirty-six (36) months at his or her own cost. Said election must be made within sixty (60) days of the loss of TRICARE eligibility.

9. what is the 20/20/15 rule?

A former military spouse with twenty (20) years of marriage and twenty (20) years of creditable military service with at least fifteen (15) years of overlapping marriage and creditable military service is entitled to receive one (1) year of transitional medical benefits. The former military spouse may also elect to receive continued medical coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefits Program for up to thirty-six (36) months at his or her own cost. Said election must be made within sixty (60) days of the loss of TRICARE eligibility.

10. What is the 20/20/20 rule?

A former military spouse with at least twenty (20) years of marriage that overlap with twenty (20) or more years of creditable military service may continue to receive full medical coverage through TRICARE and all other military benefits provided to spouses of military servicemembers.

11. What if the active duty military spouse/parent receives orders to be stationed somewhere other than his or her current duty station? How can this affect child custody/visitation?

Depending on where the new duty station is located, it may have little or no impact on child custody or visitation. There are a number of military installations in the Hampton Roads area:

United States Navy

United States Army

If the active duty military spouse is able to select a duty station in close proximity to his or her current duty station, it may be business as usual. If, however, he or she accepts orders that are not local, this may impact child custody and visitation in Virginia significantly. At a minimum, the minor child or children will not have the benefit of regular contact with both parents. Whether the minor child(ren) live with the relocating servicemember or is (are) staying behind with the former military spouse, it is generally not feasible for parents to share joint physical custody. If the parents are unable to reach an agreement and both insist on maintaining sole physical custody, then they will likely find themselves back in a Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. A non-local move should be considered a material change in circumstances warranting court intervention to help the parties reach a decision based on the best interests of the child(ren). Even where they may be able to resolve custody, visitation will probably need to be addressed as well. A child custody lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA should be contacted to provide representation in any contested child custody or visitation matter. Your child custody lawyer should also be well versed in military divorce and/or child-related matters.

12. If I (or my spouse) am (is) stationed somewhere other than my (his or her) current duty station, can this constitute abandonment/desertion?

Willful desertion or abandonment requires both the breaking off of cohabitation and an intent to desert in the mind of the offender. Generally, a servicemember knows when he or she will be receiving duty station orders and the decision to select from among the shortlist of options provided is considered carefully by both parties. The act of accepting orders to a non-local duty station does not necessarily in and of itself constitute desertion or abandonment in Virginia. Remember, it is the burden of the party making this allegation to prove the offender's intent. From a practical standpoint, this is nearly impossible. If the deserter will not outright share his or her honest thoughts with a court regarding his or her intent, a court is left to infer intent based on his or her actions.

If desertion grounds exist, a suit for a divorce from bed and board may be filed immediately and it may be merged into an absolute divorce after one full year has elapsed from the date of desertion.

13. My spouse is currently under a military protective order. Should I bother with a civilian protective order?

The civilian law enforcement officers cannot help you if there is a violation of a military protective order in Virginia. They are left in the same position as if no such order existed. The military protective order places conditions on a servicemember's liberty. Unlike a Virginia civilian legal system that requires a judge to grant a protective order, in the military, any commissioned officer can impose a condition on liberty of any enlisted member. Only a commanding officer of who's authority the member is subject can impose a condition on a commissioned or warrant officer. This authority cannot be delegated.

A civilian protective order in Virginia, on the other hand, is a legal document issued by a state judge or magistrate to protect the health and safety of a person who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

Virginia protective orders may be obtained by just about anyone who alleges abuse or threats of violence. If granted, a court can address issues of child custody, visitation, and child support; property issues involving the marital residence; and support for the victim spouse for up to two full years. A military protective order does not carry with it the full weight and authority of the Virginia courts.

So, to answer your questions, yes. If you are the victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places you in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury, you should seriously consider requesting a permanent protective order. If you are someone accused of such activity, but believe it is simply unwarranted, you should hire a qualified family law attorney who handles these types of cases.

14. How much of my military pension is my future former spouse entitled to?

The portion of a servicemember's military pension that is acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This means a court will consider that portion of the military pension to be an asset of the parties to a divorce that may be divided.

In lieu of court intervention, parties can always agree to waive interest in each other's military pension or divide it by agreement. If they can't agree, a court can divide it for them. As an equitable distribution state, the court is not necessarily required to divide marital property equally. Instead, Virginia courts are required to consider all of the factors detailed in Section 20-107.3 of the Virginia Code. More often than not, this usually ends up in a near 50/50 split; however, there is nothing in the code that binds the court in any way. In most cases, however, a former military spouse will end up receiving one half of the marital share of the servicemember's military pension.

Something that is often overlooked by many (including Virginia divorce attorneys) is the impact a servicemember's Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) disability may have on the former military spouse's share of the military pension. VA disability compensation is meant to cover injuries or disabilities that occurred while on active duty, or which were made worse by active service, including mental or physical injuries that are service-connected. Servicemembers must waive a certain amount of retired pay in order to receive VA disability compensation and this amount, if any, cannot be divided between spouses in a state divorce court, thus reducing the amount available to the former military spouse. It is essentially as if a civilian pension recipient were able to waive a portion of his or her retirement to avoid paying taxes on an amount that is simply reclassified as disability pay. The money is still there; however, it is treated differently for tax purposes. In this case, however, a former military spouse will receive a reduced share of his or her interest in the military pension due to the action of the retired servicemember.

To address this concern, effective January 1, 2014, service members may be entitled to concurrent receipt of military retired pay and disability compensation. Disability retirees retiring with twenty (20) or more years of service are entitled to military retired pay and disability compensation for a service connected disability rated fifty percent (50%) or more, or a combination of service-connected disabilities rated fifty percent (50%) or more. This means the former military spouse is made whole in these cases. The same is not true in cases where the rating is less than fifty percent (50%).

15. What if the non-military spouse has retirement assets?

Just as a portion of any military pension acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution, so to are all other retirement and/or investment accounts. The challenge most people face is in determining what the offset, if any, should be when both spouses in a Virginia divorce have these types of accounts. Since a military pension is a defined benefit plan, there is no simple way to determine what the equivalent offset should be in a defined contribution plan. Also, as a defined benefit plan, the distribution to a former military spouse occurs as each monthly payment is made. To be as fair as possible, the more tedious route of dividing each account in half may make sense. The problem arrises, however, when the servicemember passes away soon after he or she begins receiving retirement benefits. Without the Survivor Benefit Plan or other life insurance product, the former military spouse would effectively lose his or her share of the military pension. Anyone in this position should consider consulting with a knowledgeable military divorce attorney before negotiating any sort of settlement.

16. How much spousal support am i required to pay my spouse if I am active duty military?

There are two components to this questions: Military and Civilian Spousal Support.

First, take a look at how the United States Navy (Military) informs it's sailors on the issue of spousal support:

According to MILPERSMAN, in those cases where the amount of support has not been fixed by a competent court order or mutual agreement, the support scale set forth below may be used as a guide until such time as a mutual agreement is reached or a court order obtained.

NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS AND AMOUNT OF SUPPORT TO BE PROVIDED IN THE ABSENCE OF A MUTUAL AGREEMENT OR COURT ORDER:

  • Spouse only: 1/3 gross pay
  • Spouse and one minor child: 1/2 gross pay
  • Spouse and two or more children: 3/5 gross pay

Note: Gross pay includes basic pay and basic allowance for housing (BAH) if entitled, but does not include hazardous duty pay, sea or foreign duty pay, incentive pay, or basic allowance for subsistence.

Next, consider what the Virginia Code and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court or Circuit Court judges have to say. 

According to Section 16.1-278.17:1 of the Virginia Code, there is a presumption in any judicial proceeding for pendente lite spousal support and maintenance that the amount of the award that would result from the application of the formula set forth in this section is the correct amount of spousal support to be awarded. The court may deviate from the presumptive amount. If the court is determining both an award of pendente lite spousal support and maintenance and an award of child support, the court shall first make a determination of the amount of the award of pendente lite spousal support, if any, owed by one party to the other under this section. If the parties have minor children in common, the presumptive amount of an award of pendente lite spousal support and maintenance shall be the difference between 28% of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 58% of the payee spouse's monthly gross income. If the parties have no minor children in common, the presumptive amount of the award shall be the difference between 30% of the payor spouse's monthly gross income and 50% of the payee spouse's monthly gross income. For the purposes of this section, monthly gross income shall have the same meaning as it does in section Section 20-108.2, as amended.

Confused yet? Bear in mind that the above pendente lite support guidelines are intended to be temporary in nature. Spousal support in Virginia is ultimately factor based. Section 20-107.1 of the Virginia Code, requires that the court consider the circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including adultery and any other ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision (3) or (6) of Sections 20-91 or 20-95. In determining the nature, amount and duration of an award pursuant to this section, the court shall consider the following:

  1. The obligations, needs and financial resources of the parties, including but not limited to income from all pension, profit sharing or retirement plans, of whatever nature;
  2. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  3. The duration of the marriage;
  4. The age and physical and mental condition of the parties and any special circumstances of the family;
  5. The extent to which the age, physical or mental condition or special circumstances of any child of the parties would make it appropriate that a party not seek employment outside of the home;
  6. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  7. The property interests of the parties, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
  8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property under § 20-107.3;
  9. The earning capacity, including the skills, education and training of the parties and the present employment opportunities for persons possessing such earning capacity;
  10. The opportunity for, ability of, and the time and costs involved for a party to acquire the appropriate education, training and employment to obtain the skills needed to enhance his or her earning ability;
  11. The decisions regarding employment, career, economics, education and parenting arrangements made by the parties during the marriage and their effect on present and future earning potential, including the length of time one or both of the parties have been absent from the job market;
  12. The extent to which either party has contributed to the attainment of education, training, career position or profession of the other party; and
  13. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

So, how much spousal support am I required to pay my spouse if I'm active duty military? Unless ordered by your command or a judge, the answer is nothing. The real question you should be asking yourself is: How much spousal support should I pay to my spouse? Maybe you're paying the mortgage and utilities for the marital residence where your spouse and children are staying. Perhaps you're paying off joint marital debt by agreement. Maybe the disparity in income is negligible. In the end, only a civilian judge can order either party to pay spousal support to the other. To help make sense of what your support obligations may be pending a divorce, you should consult a divorce attorney in Virginia before making any decisions that may impact your individual case.

17. My spouse is active duty military and receives Bah. Is he or she required to give that money to me?

The Virginia Code has no requirement that a servicemember give his or her spouse any portion of the BAH. The military doesn't really see it any differently. Generally speaking, BAH is an entitlement to the servicemember, not his or her spouse. If the servicemember is not sufficiently supporting the marriage or is allegedly committing fraud on the government, it is likely an issue better suited for his or her command. While the civilian family law courts in Virginia can and do address issues of alimony, support, and maintenance, they do not require that a servicemember give his or her BAH to the non-military spouse.

18. Will my child(ren) retain tricare after we are divorced?

TRICARE is a health benefit program for the United States uniformed services and include the Army, Air Force,  Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Navy, and the Public Health Service. To benefit from TRICARE, a person must be listed in DEERS as being eligible for military health care benefits. In general, unmarried children of active duty service members are eligible for TRICARE. If a formerly dependent child by way of marriage only was not adopted, that child's coverage may cease as a result of the divorce.

19. Which parent is required to provide medical (health) and/or dental insurance coverage for our children?

There is no hard fast rule about which parent is required to provide medical (health) and/or dental insurance coverage for the minor child(ren); however, the bottom line is, someone will. If coverage is available on both sides, the parties should first determine which plan provides the best benefits for the lowest cost. Since this is factored into the Virginia child support guidelines at the time child support is established, it would make sense for the parties to figure this out ahead of time. The out of pocket expenses for co-pays and co-insurance can quickly add up and the parties should strive to avoid these wherever possible. Also, in accordance with Section 20-108.2 of the Virginia Code, any costs for health care coverage and dental coverage, when actually being paid by a parent or that parent's spouse, to the extent such costs are directly allocable to the child or children, and which are the extra costs of covering the child or children beyond whatever coverage the parent or that parent's spouse providing the coverage would otherwise have, shall be added to the basic child support obligation.

20. How is child support calculated in virginia military divorce cases?

Child support is calculated the same for military divorce cases as it is in any other Virginia child support related matter. In Virginia, the presumptive award of child support is calculated according Section 20-108.2 of the Virginia Code and the child custody arrangement between the parents. A Virginia lawyer well versed in child support can run these guidelines for you in very little time. These guidelines are amended as of July 1, 2014.

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