Guiding You Through Family Law Issues With Experience & Compassion

Experienced Help With Military Family Law And Divorce

If you are a servicemember or the spouse of a servicemember and you are thinking of divorce or already involved in those proceedings, it is important to understand that a military divorce is not a simple divorce. The life and duties of a servicemember mean your custody and visitation arrangements will be unlike many nonmilitary parenting plans, and the division of the marital estate has many special considerations.

Our Attorney Teaches Military Family Law

Carlsen Law Offices, PLLC, knows military family law. Our attorney has worked with numerous servicemembers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as well as many others from the other military installations around the Tacoma and Seattle area. Her expertise in this area is demonstrated by the courses on divorce and family law she teaches to attorneys in the military. Our experience in this area means we can help you on a broad range of the unique complications that servicemembers and their spouses encounter during a divorce.

A military divorce in Washington involves a mix of state family law statutes and rules with specific federal laws and regulations governing eligibility for health care, how retirement may be paid, how service of process can take place and other elements dealing with the division of assets of the couple. How this combination plays out will be different in every situation.

20-20-20 Rule For TRICARE

Health care is an important part of any divorce settlement. As a military spouse, you may be entitled to access to TRICARE under the 20-20-20 rule. To qualify for this benefit, you need to have been married for at least 20 years, the servicemember must have 20 years of creditable service and you need to have 20 years of overlap with the marriage and the service.

The 10-10 Rule For Retirement

An important aspect of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is known as the 10-10 rule. If you were married to a servicemember for at least 10 years and those 10 years overlapped with their service, you can receive your share of their retirement payments directly from DFAS. This can be very valuable, as you won’t have to rely on a former spouse making timely payments.

Why You Want An Attorney With Expertise In This Area

There are many complications that go along with a military divorce. Custody and visitation may be especially complex if you or your spouse is regularly deployed or has significant travel demands. The division of marital assets is always complex.

For instance, because receipt of some retirement benefits may be discretionary for the servicemember, you should always specify in your settlement agreement precisely when payment should commence, to prevent them from delaying taking their benefit to spite you.

Contact Us

Family law issues, whether divorce, custody or child support, can be emotional and legally complex. Our lawyer can begin to help you right away, from explaining the law to protecting your interests in court. Call our Tacoma office at 253-215-4668 or use our online form.