Divorces and other family law matters involving military personnel can be especially challenging. Issues such as commencing the divorce action, parenting time schedules, medical insurance coverage, and retirement benefits all deserve thoughtful consideration.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA) and Service of Process Considerations
SCRA is a federal law that affords active military members protection against civil action (including divorce actions) for 90 days. Even so, an active military member is subject to the jurisdiction of family court in the county and state in which the service member resides. If off-post, a service member can be served by personal service of a Summons and Petition to start the divorce action. However, when a service member is on-post/active-duty stationed or deployed outside of the United States, service of process can be more complicated, requiring service by alternate means. The attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC can assist you with determining the best approach in your military divorce.
Children do best with consistency and stability of their schedules as well as consistency in the people in their lives. In the case of military personnel, who can be deployed or otherwise have to be away from their family for stretches of time for training and other purposes, this can create conflict between the parents and challenges for the children. In addition, there are situations where there is only one parent in the picture and the parenting authority needs to be delegated to a third party, such as a friend or relative. Minnesota has adopted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act to help address some of these concerns. The attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC will guide you through these special challenges in your military divorce.
Active military members and their families have medical insurance coverage available through TRICARE. Following divorce, the service member’s dependent children are still eligible for coverage, but the former spouse may or may not be eligible under TRICARE or may be eligible for only limited benefits under the alternate Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). There are very specific eligibility requirements that determine whether a former spouse qualifies for coverage under these programs. The attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC can help you work through the complexities of medical coverage as part of your military divorce.
Military retirement may be a marital asset. Calculating how much of it is a marital asset and how that asset may be affected by disability can be uniquely complex. A portion of the plan may have accrued before the marriage, during the marriage and may continue to be accruing after the marriage. There is an added layer of complexity in negotiating and litigating how these benefits should be awarded if the service member is on active duty. Further, it is important to understand how and when the benefits will be distributed and what survivorship benefits are available. If needed, the attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC will work with expert actuaries, lawyers who specialize in drafting divorce-related orders dividing military pensions, and other experts.
A service member may have civilian military, civilian government, or civilian private employment in addition to their military employment. This additional employment may result in additional retirement benefits that need to be divided and may also affect how the military retirement is calculated. The attorneys at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC are equipped to help you navigate the intricacies of military retirement benefits.
Contact Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC at 651-771-0050 to schedule a consultation.