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D.C. Area Military Law Blog

Military divorce statistics show no increase or decrease

There are many members of the military stationed in Virginia and it is important that they understand that the difficult nature of a life of service in the U.S. Armed Forces often strains a marriage to its breaking point. While many people are happily married with one or both spouses being members of the military, there are still couples who cannot maintain a marriage and must get a military divorce. A military divorce differs from a civilian divorce in that there are military benefits, military pensions, child custody and visitation and other issues that come to the forefront in unique circumstances. Having legal assistance from a law firm that understands the military can be vital to a case.

Statistics for military divorce rates were recently released and show that the number of military divorces has been steady for four consecutive years. The latest numbers are from 2017. They indicate that males and females maintained a similar rate of divorce as they had in the three previous years with it landing between 3 and 3.1 percent of marriages ending. In fiscal year 2017, there were 689,060 married people in the military. 21,290 got a divorce. It was slightly more in 2016 with 707,230 married couples and 22,500 divorces.

Man accused of military law violation for sexual assault

Virginia has many people in the military who reside in the Commonwealth and there are times when there are accusations of military law violations lodged against them. It is important to understand that the military has its own courts to deal with those who are either members of the military or are students at a service academy. Having legal representation that does not understand how the military justice system works can lead to mistakes in the process. For those faced with charges and the potential penalties for military law violations, it is imperative to be represented by a law firm that is experienced in military cases.

A student at the U.S. Naval Academy is facing a court martial for a sexual assault that happened in March 2018. The 23-year-old midshipman was set to graduate from the academy, but he is awaiting the outcome of his case. The incident occurred in Florida when a woman was alleged to have been assaulted as she slept. Other charges include causing bodily harm and obstruction of justice after urging a member of the U.S. Marines to lie in an attempt at impeding the investigation. He is also said to have deleted information from another seaman's cellphone. The midshipman was in an elite program that would have allowed him to take part in Nuclear Power School.

Incorporating your family care plan into your child custody plan

If you are member of the U.S. military, you likely have a family care plan. If you haven't executed such documents yet, you'll want to be aware that the family care plan is a key factor in providing for your children and family while you fulfill deployment obligations overseas. Perhaps you are one of many military service members who are preparing for divorce. As such, you may want to incorporate your family care plan as part of your co-parenting agreement.

Getting divorced can be stressful, even for civilians. For those in the military, it can be especially challenging to balance family life with service duties. When a married couple determines their relationship cannot withstand the strain, divorce often results. As you work toward an amicable settlement with your spouse, your family care plan can help you make sure your children's best interests are the central focus of all proceedings.

What protections does USFSPA provide in a military divorce?

The military life can be difficult for a family and, in some cases, a military divorce is unavoidable. Since there are so many people who are members of the military in Virginia or have retired from military service and settled in the Commonwealth, it is important to understand the various laws that are in place to protect both the service member and a non-military spouse if there is a divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act is an important factor to understand in these cases.

There are two main issues that the USFSPA is meant to handle. It allows state courts to make the distributions of retired military pay to a former spouse, and it has a way to enforce orders via the Department of Defense. Under USFSPA, the former spouse does not automatically get a portion of the pay of the former service member. There must be an award of the portion in a court order. With USFSPA, there is also a way to enforce back child support and current alimony that was determined in the court order.

A lawyer experienced in military divorce can help with a case

Virginians who are currently serving or have retired from military service will have various benefits that go along with their chosen career path. That includes medical coverage and military pensions. For many, the military life is difficult enough that their marriage cannot withstand its pressures and a military divorce happens. These cases have similarities to a civilian divorce, but there are a variety of factors that are unique to military service and its benefits. For those who are divorcing and seeking legal representation, it is wise to contact a law firm that specializes in helping members and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In a military divorce, there are the common disagreements including spousal support, property division, child custody, child support and more. Still, there are differences with a military divorce and problems that arise that vary greatly from what happens in a civilian divorce. For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can shield the military member when they are deployed or unable to take part in the proceedings in person. This is critical as military members rarely know for certain when they might be called to duty in a foreign land for an unknown time-period.

Security clearance, background checks and periodic investigations

Since Virginia is one of the hubs for military activity, there are many people who live in the state or are relocating for a potential job and are concerned about security clearance issues. Security clearance is needed for a significant portion of these jobs whether it is a person who is taking a government job, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or a contractor. Understanding key points about the security clearance include being prepared for the background investigation, knowing when an interim security clearance can be given, and when periodic re-investigations will take place.

When there has been an offer of conditional employment and the security questionnaire has been completed, the background investigation will begin. Applicants are expected to reply with honesty and be candid in their answers. The security package will be submitted to the Department of State and the relevant office. The security package will be subject for review to ensure that it is complete. There will be record checks and a fingerprint scan. The person's history - past and present - will be assessed. There will be an in-person interview with an investigator from the Department of State. If there are no issues, the security clearance will be approved.

SCRA may help Virginia service members preparing for divorce

When you joined the U.S. military, you took an oath to protect and defend your country from foreign and domestic adversaries. It is a career of noble cause, and many service members enjoy the structure, routine and benefits their jobs provide. These benefits include dental and health care as well as affordable life insurance.

If your marriage ends in divorce, things can get a bit complicated, especially regarding the non-military spouse and what benefits and privileges they may still have. Child custody issues can also be complex; although as an active member of the U.S. armed forces, you are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. If you're preparing for or currently fulfilling a deployment, you'll want to learn as much as you can about this law and how it may apply to your situation during a time of stress for your family.

Air Force Academy cadet faces military law violations

There are many service members, prospective service members and former service members in Virginia. For these individuals, the realities of military law sometimes intersect with civilian law. At other times, they diverge completely. It is important for members of the military, former members of the military and those attending service academies to understand how a military law violation can impact them in the present and future. A dishonorable discharge after a court martial can harm them in a myriad of ways. Regardless of the charges, it is essential to have legal assistance to combat the allegations. This is especially true when it is a young person who is in a military academy.

A second-year student in the Air Force Academy is charged with sexual assault and child pornography. The student, a Cadet 3rd Class, is alleged to have committed rape of a 17-year-old girl nearly one year ago. He is also accused of videoing her taking part in sexual activities several times two years ago. There was an order that stated he could not have contact with her and he violated it multiple times. There will be an Article 32 hearing which is like a grand jury hearing the evidence. It will be decided whether the case should continue or the charges dismissed. If it moves forward, a conviction could result in several penalties including a court martial and expulsion.

Court martials can affect retirees under affirmed military law

When members of the United States Armed Forces are accused of illegal activity while serving and the charges are of sufficient severity, there can be a court martial proceeding that can ultimately lead to penalties and a discharge. This is a fundamental part of military law. Since there are so many military personnel stationed in Virginia, it is important to understand how these cases are handled and the potential punishments they might face. Virginia is also the home to many former military members who might be under the impression that once they have left the service, they are no longer subject to its penalties. As a recent Supreme Court decision shows, that is not the case.

A retired Marine was subject to court martial after a 2015 sexual assault conviction. He wanted his case reviewed by the nation's highest court. It rejected the request validating the possibility for retired members of the military to be court martialed for crimes that occurred after leaving the service. The man - a staff sergeant who had remained in Japan after his 20 years were up and he retired - was accused of sexual assault by a woman who was bartending at a bar he managed. He recorded it with his cellphone. He was convicted and court martialed.

Divorce and finances: How Virginia spouses can avoid pitfalls

When you file for divorce in a Virginia court, you no doubt understand that your life is going to go through some significant changes, especially if you have children. While getting divorced doesn't necessarily mean you'll be in for a tough time down the line, most people do encounter numerous challenges as they leave a marriage behind and adapt to new lifestyles.

One of the most common areas that pose obstacles to people during and after divorce proceedings is finances. There are definitely ways to make sure divorce doesn't drain your wallet. There are also things you can do to prevent a financial downfall as you move on in life. If you're dealing with a particular legal problem, such as a spouse who is trying to hide assets, it's good to have support resources lined up so you can rectify the issue as swiftly and painlessly as possible.

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