New Orleans Military Divorce Lawyers
Experienced New Orleans and Slidell family law advocacy when a spouse is a member of the military
Many members of Louisiana proudly served or are now serving in our US Armed Forces. When a spouse who is a former or current member of the military considers divorce, there are many legal, financial, and practical considerations. Current members of the military often are stationed outside of Louisiana or the United States. Former members of the military may be disabled. Members of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines usually have public retirement plans.
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans divorce lawyers understand how military divorces are similar to traditional divorces, and how they are different. We understand the rights of all the parties involved. This includes the service member, the spouse, and children of military members. Our lawyers will explain your rights for all divorce issues including the division of property, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Call us now to speak with an experienced New Orleans military divorce lawyer.
How can we help?
- Where are Louisiana’s military bases?
- What are the residency issues when a member of the military divorces?
- How is property divided in New Orleans when a spouse is in the US military?
- How are custody issues resolved when a spouse is a member of the US military?
- How is child support addressed when a spouse is a member of the US military?
- What are the spousal support obligations when a spouse is a US service member?
- What is a military member’s family care plan?
- Do you have a military divorce lawyer near me?
Where are Louisiana’s military bases?
Louisiana currently has the following military bases:
- Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier City
- Fort Polk Army Base, Vernon Parish
- Camp Beauregard Army Base, Pineville
- Marine Corps Support Facility, New Orleans
- NSA New Orleans Navy Base, New Orleans
- Joint Reserve Base New Orleans Navy, New Orleans
What are the residency issues when a member of the military divorces?
Knowing which state can decide a military divorce is more complicated than when civilians divorce. Members of the military often live in different states when they’re not deployed overseas. The residency requirements for military members differ from divorces where each spouse is a civilian. For civilians, there are different residency requirements depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, whether there are minor children, and other factors.
Generally, for civilian spouses, a spouse must have lived in Louisiana for at least the minimum required time for his/her parish. If a spouse is a member of the military, then the period of time the spouse was stationed in Louisiana may count towards the residency requirements.
Generally, if your spouse is deployed overseas or cannot reasonably respond, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act requires that your spouse consent to the divorce and waive service in order for the divorce to proceed. The US wants members of the military to be able to focus on their services to the country first.
How is property divided in New Orleans when a spouse is in the military?
In Louisiana, marital property is considered community property. This means any property acquired during the marriage and any increase in the value of the property obtained before the marriage is divided equally.
Marital property usually includes a home, bank accounts, vehicles, a business, and other personal property. Marital property also includes retirement accounts. If your spouse has a military retirement account, then the United Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) may govern how the military retirement pay is distributed providing that distribution:
- “Recognizes the right of state courts to distribute military retired pay to a spouse or former spouse (hereafter, the former spouse), and
- Provides a method of enforcing these orders through the Department of Defense.”
Normally, to claim the military retirement pay of your spouse, you must have been married for 10 years or more, “during which the member performed at least 10 years of military service creditable towards retirement eligibility.” The Act further states:
Also, to enforce orders dividing retired pay as property, the state court must have had jurisdiction over the member by reason of
- the member's residence in the territorial jurisdiction of the court (other than because of military assignment),
- the member's domicile in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, or
- the member's consent to the jurisdiction of the court.
- the member indicates his or her consent to the court’s jurisdiction by taking some affirmative action in the legal proceeding.
How are custody issues resolved when a spouse is a member of the military?
All child custody decisions are made based on what is in the child’s best interests. Those interests can be fluid/change when a parent is a member of the US Armed Forces because a military parent often isn’t located near the child’s residence and school. Federal laws do provide protections for military parents so they and their children can have loving supporting relationships after a separation or a divorce.
Generally, the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act precludes family judges from deciding the issues of sole custody, joint custody, shared custody, and visitation based on the deployment history of the parent who is serving or served in the military. This federal law helps expedite child custody and visitation issues and helps protect the military member from requests for modification of child custody orders without their consent.
How is child support addressed when a spouse is a member of the US military?
The different US military branches have their own child support rules, including the amount that should be paid and how payments to the other parent are made. Generally, since the military member is the noncustodial parent, he/she pays the other parent child support. The amount is usually based on the:
- Member’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
- Member’s Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates
- Military Pay Chart
- Income taxes due
- Number of other children of the service member who require support
The amount is often set so that it doesn’t exceed a specific percentage of the service member’s pay. The amount may also be adjusted depending on where the military member is deployed.
What are the spousal support obligations when a spouse is a US service member?
There are two types of spousal support in Louisiana. Interim spousal support is support paid while the divorce is pending. Final periodic support is paid after the divorce becomes final. Generally, the obligation of a member of the military to pay either type of support is comparable to the obligations of civilian members – with the appropriate adjustments because the spouse is a member of the military. These adjustments consider the military’s place of deployment and current income.
Our attorneys can work with you to determine the proper and fair amount of spousal support to which you may be entitled, or how much you may be obligated to provide.
What is a military member’s family care plan?
A family care plan is written guidance for how a military parent wants the child’s needs to be addressed while he or she is not at home.
The care plan includes contact information for everyone involved in the child’s life, instructions for daily activities, the locations of important documents, medical information, dependent ID cards, and many other types of information. Our New Orleans military divorce lawyers help ensure the lines of communication between the parents, children, and caregivers are open, and that the wishes of the military member are understood.
Do you have a military divorce lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham has two offices located in South Louisiana:
For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.
Our New Orleans military divorce lawyers are ready to help you now
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we understand the unusual challenges involved when a member of the military is involved in a divorce. We represent members of the military who are going through a divorce. We also represent the spouses of military members and the parents of a child whose other parent is a member of the military. Our New Orleans miliary divorce lawyers fight to protect the rights of our clients while honoring the service provided by our members of the US Armed Forces. Please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We provide experienced family law advice throughout New Orleans and Slidell.