Divorce Lawyers for Military Spouses
About Military Divorce Law in Pennsylvania
We have more than 20 years of experience helping clients obtain both civilian and military no-fault divorces in Pennsylvania and understand the unusual laws surrounding military divorces. If you and your spouse decide to pursue an uncontested divorce, we can provide you with sound legal counsel and save you time and money with The Cairns Method of Obtaining an Internet-Based Divorce℠.
If you are in the military and looking for good representation for your divorce, don't hesitate to contact Cairns Law Offices today to discuss your case!
File for Military Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse are seeking a no-fault, uncontested divorce in PA, and one or both of you are active members of the United States Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard, a military divorce attorney from the Cairns Law Offices can provide you with experienced legal guidance. At our firm, our divorce lawyers for military spouses understand that there can be unique circumstances involved in military divorces, especially when one spouse is stationed overseas or across the nation.
A spouse who is participating in active duty must be physically served the divorce papers, which protects the spouse from being divorced without any knowledge or say. There are also laws that govern how a military member's retirement benefits must be calculated, as well as restrictions placed upon the amount of alimony or child support payments that can be ordered.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in the Military?
Hiring an attorney for your military divorce can be a delicate task. Most family law firms do not have the extensive experience needed to interpret military law. Also, most men and women in uniform do not have the legal expertise to file solo.
At Cairns Law Offices, our PA military divorce attorneys have over 20 years of experience assisting military couples achieve successful divorces. We encourage anyone to schedule a consultation so that their questions or concerns are addressed.
How Long Will Your Military Divorce Take?
Our unique approach to divorce means that you and your spouse are able to avoid unnecessary fees and the hassle of traveling to courthouses and law offices. Our divorce lawyers for military spouses are committed to simplifying the divorce process and helping our clients achieve a fresh start as soon as possible. We use technology to make your divorce more efficient, and you will receive regular updates on your case.
Unlike conventional law firms, we typically process your paperwork in a matter of days, not weeks, to help you achieve divorce faster. We believe that you should never be confused about the divorce process, which is why we reply to calls and emails within a day. Military divorces differ, but that does not mean your divorce has to cost more or be more stressful. We offer settlement agreement preparation and free legal consultations by phone any day of the week, including evenings.
Benefits for Divorced Military Spouses in PA
Civilians are entitled to some military benefits following their divorce from a servicemember. Other perks, however, may only be shared if the relationship meets certain criteria. The rest of the military privileges are reserved solely for servicemembers and cannot be redistributed.
What Benefits Can a Military Spouse Keep?
There are some benefits that a servicemember’s partner is entitled to regardless of the length of the relationship. Military spouses will receive:
- A share of the servicemember’s defined benefit pension
- A share of the servicemember’s Thrift Savings Plan
- Family support, or a monthly living stipend, until the court makes a decision on child support and alimony
While not entitled to it per se, civilian spouses may also retain access to the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit. It is not considered a divisible asset – in fact, federal law prohibits state courts from dividing the program in a divorce. Still, one may maintain their status as a beneficiary of the financial assistance for education, but only if the servicemember agrees.
What Benefits Are Reserved for Couples Who Meet the 20/20/20 Rule?
The 20/20/20 rule states that, in order to qualify for certain benefits in a military divorce, the duration of military service, the length of the marriage, and the overlap of those two periods, must be at least 20 years.
So, for example, a relationship in which a servicemember started their career in 1990, married a civilian in 2000, and sought a divorce in 2020 could qualify – but only if the servicemember was still working for the military in 2020. If the military member left their career in 2010, the civilian would no longer qualify for these exclusive benefits. This is because, despite the marriage and the length of service totaling 20 years each, the overlap period would only be 10 years.
If a spouse satisfies the 20/20/20 requirement, they will have:
- Access to the military exchange
- Commissary privileges
- Installation privileges
- Their own military ID
- TRICARE, so long as the civilian spouse did not remarry or enroll in an employee health plan
A spouse may be granted partial entitlement of benefits under the nearly identical 20/20/15 rule. This alternative states that when a couple meets the marriage and service length requirements, but only has an overlap period of 15 years, the civilian partner can receive up to one year of TRICARE coverage. However, this non-servicemember will not be eligible for a military ID and related privileges without the extra five years of overlap.
What Military Benefits Cannot Be Shared With a Civilian Spouse?
Some military perks are the servicemember’s alone, and cannot be divided through a divorce. Military spouses cannot receive any of the following:
- Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
- Installation housing
- Military medical benefits (unless the civilian meets the statutory requirements to receive TRICARE on their own through 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 guidelines, or opts to purchase a temporary continuation of coverage through CHCB)
- Most military disability retirement pay
- VA disability compensation
VA disability compensation, CRSC, and disability pay are deducted from the servicemember’s pension. So, if a servicemember receives any of these benefits, the spouse will receive less from the pension, as there will simply be less money left to redistribute.
If you want an uncontested, divorce without the stress, choose a Pennsylvania military divorce attorney from our firm who will make your case a priority. Call (888) 863-9115 for a FREE evaluation. Se habla Español.