Unique concerns for divorcing military parents in Washington

Obtaining a divorce in Washington is complicated and often emotional for the people involved. It becomes even more complex when one or both of the spouses has a military career. There are many concerns that military families have that the average family in Washington never has to consider.

Working for the military often means placing your own needs on hold in order to serve your country. That can definitely impact the stability of your marriage.

It can also have an impact on the outcome of your divorce. Thankfully, it is still possible to handle the divorce proceedings with dignity and secure a positive outcome for everyone in the family.

You may have to split your military pension with your spouse

Every state has its own rules when it comes to how to split up retirement accounts and pensions. However, military pensions are somewhat unique. The United States military has rules in place regarding the division of pensions.

The military may divide a pension between a military member and a divorcing spouse, regardless of how long their marriage lasted. However, the military requires that a couple remain married for at least 10 years that overlap with active military service for the non-military spouse to receive direct payments of pension benefits.

There are complicating factors, including prior marriages where the spouse also qualified for a share of the military pension. Each couple's situation is unique. Seek advice regarding your rights to a share of the pension or the best strategy to protect your pension as a military member seeking a divorce.

Your parenting plan should have flexibility for the active duty parent

Active duty military members often find themselves deployed for long periods of time. Unless their family comes with them to a military base, this can mean going weeks or months without directly seeing your spouse or children. After a divorce, it can be difficult for an active duty military member to secure adequate parenting time and visitation with their children.

Thankfully, it is possible to address the issues created by active duty military status. Your parenting plan should include provisions that protect your rights to develop your relationship with your children.

In some situations, virtual visitation may be an ideal solution. This involves video chatting with your child from wherever you may be.

Being in the military can place a lot of strain on a family and marriage. Not all families make it through active duty military service intact. If your marriage is coming to an end, it's important to take steps now to protect yourself, including your property rights and your relationship with your children, before the divorce moves farther through the courts.

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