Attorney Claudia Zucker Counsels Military Members on Divorce

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Attorney Claudia Zucker lists the top five tips Virginia military personnel and their spouses can expect in a divorce.

“If you or your spouse is a member of the armed services and are seeking a dissolution of marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you need a lawyer who is well-versed in military divorces.

Claudia Zucker of Law Offices of Claudia Zucker discusses what Virginia service members can expect in a divorce. “The differences in military as opposed to civilian divorce revolve around issues that specifically affect current military members or retired military members,” said Claudia Zucker, a family law attorney that represents both members of the military and the spouses of servicemembers in Virginia. “If you or your spouse is a member of the armed services and are seeking a dissolution of marriage in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you need a lawyer who is well-versed in military divorces.”

To help servicemembers or their spouses in Virginia who are going through a divorce, Zucker lists the following five things to expect:

No. 1: Virginia court jurisdiction. “First and foremost, in order for the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia to have jurisdiction, the military member must be served with a petition for divorce,” said Zucker. “However, a military member who is on active duty is shielded by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act from participating in the litigation while on active duty, which may cause significant delays.” However if a service member is not deployed, the litigation will frequently be able to proceed.

No. 2: Division of marital assets. Once divorce proceedings have been initiated, marital property is divided similarly to the way that it would be in a civilian divorce. The military pension, however, is divided according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, which allows for some of the pension benefits to be paid to a former spouse.

No. 3: Child Support. Similar to civilian parents, military members are expected to pay child support, but may have a difficult time collecting amounts that exceed 60 percent of the service member’s pay regardless of how far behind they are in their payments. Only 60% of a member’s pay may be garnished. However, this does not excuse the late payments or lack of payments by the member, and lack of payments of court-ordered support could negatively impact the member’s military career, as well as subject them to contempt issues before a court.

No. 4: Child custody. Due to the fact that the spouse in the military is/can be deployed for lengthy periods of time, said spouse is unlikely to seek or receive sole or primary custody of children. It is often the case where the non-military spouse will receive majority or sole custody, as judges will look at what is in the best interest of the children. However, any custody decisions made due to the member’s deployment must be entered as a temporary order by law that is reviewable within 30 days of the member’s return from deployment. This ensures that military spouses are not unfairly disadvantaged by their temporary deployment overseas in custody issues. Upon their return from deployment, a servicemember is given an opportunity to modify the temporary custodial order.

No. 5: Spousal support. “The non-military spouse, due to frequent moves and relocations and/or long deployments, is oftentimes unemployed or underemployed,” said Zucker. “Relocations due to the member’s permanent change of station order often interfere with the non-member’s ability to maintain long-term employment. This means the military spouse might be responsible for spousal support post-divorce.”

About Claudia Zucker, Law Offices of Claudia Zucker
If one is going through a challenging family law matter such as divorce, separation, or a child custody dispute, family law attorney Claudia Zucker is here to help. Attorney Zucker represents people in Northern Virginia, including those in Arlington, Fairfax, McLean, Alexandria, Falls Church, Vienna, Manassas, and residents in all cities within Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Arlington County, and Prince William County. For more information, please call (703)-522-5629, or send Claudia an email at claudia(at)zuckerlawfirm(dot)com. Her office is located at 1840 Wilson Blvd., Suite 205, Arlington, VA 22201.

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