In the midst of the current concerns regarding the coronavirus, we want our clients to know that the Altick & Corwin Co., L.P.A. office is open for business, but we are restricting visitors from coming to our offices.
Appointments are being handled over the telephone or through facetime and other means of communications.
The attorneys and staff are taking all necessary precautions to keep our employees healthy and physically distanced from each other. As far as we know, none of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
We encourage clients to continue to call or email our attorneys. If a call goes to the attorney’s voice mail, the attorney will receive an email of that call. Thus, all calls will be able to be returned to you, but please be patient in waiting for the return call.
We will update you as things change, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Take care and be safe. Thank you.

Protections for ex-spouses of service members

Divorce is never easy for anything, but there are some issues in divorce that are especially difficult for members of the military. Some of these issues are purely logistical. Service members who are on active duty can be sent to remote areas at a moment’s notice, making it hard to take care of paperwork, communicate with lawyers or appear in court when needed. Some of these issues run a little deeper.

Divorce, property division, child custody and other family law issues are usually controlled by state law. For members of the military, the law of the state that is the person’s legal domicile will control most issues in the case. However, there is also the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, which provides some income for divorced spouses of service members. If the marriage was at least 10 years long, the ex-spouse may be entitled to some retirement benefits as well.

The USFSPA also provides ex-spouses with health care benefits and benefits at military commissaries and exchanges under some circumstances. Again, these benefits are dependent on the length of the marriage. A former spouse who was married to the service member during at least 20 years in which the service member was on creditable service is known as a 20/20/20 former spouse and keeps full commissary, exchange and healthcare benefits.

As its name implies, the USFSPA is intended to protect spouses who have depended on the income of a service member for many years. In some cases, spouses have given up their own careers and moved far from home. Often, they have had to move multiple times. Without the USFSPA, they could be in a very bad financial situation.

Still, these and other laws can make military divorce more complicated. It’s important for service members and their spouses who are considering divorce to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in the intricacies of military divorce.