Knowledgeable Attorney Handles Military Divorces in Maryland
Divorce presents special legal issues for military families
Military couples face unique complications when they wish to divorce, because of federal and state laws that apply only to military divorces. At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we have experience handling divorces and other legal matters for military families in Maryland. If you or your spouse is on active duty, our attorney can help you with a divorce.
Filing for military divorce and serving spouses on active duty
To file for divorce in Maryland, the law requires that at least one member of a military couple lives in or is stationed in Maryland. If you are filing for divorce against your active duty military spouse, a copy of the divorce petition and a summons must be hand-delivered to him or her. However, it is not necessary to formally serve the papers if the military spouse files a waiver stating that he or she does not wish to contest the divorce.
Laws governing military divorce in Maryland
Delaying divorce proceedings
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects members of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves, from being sued while on active duty — including for divorce. Normally, when civilians are served with divorce papers, they have a very short time in which to respond. But if you are served with a divorce petition while on active duty, you do not have to respond until 90 days after the end of your active duty military service, giving you more time to consult a family lawyer. If you do wish to move forward with the divorce while on active military duty, you can waive your right to a delay.
Property division and military divorce
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) protects certain military members’ retirement benefits from becoming joint assets in the event of a divorce. Only those who were married for at least 10 years while their military spouses were on active duty are entitled to a portion of retirement benefits in a divorce. The USFSPA does not automatically entitle a former spouse to part of the service member's retirement pay. A court must award the former spouse a portion of the retirement pay in the final divorce decree.
Call our military divorce lawyer in Maryland today
To learn more about military divorce and other family law issues that military families face in Maryland, call the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee today at 240-552-6957 or contact our firm online. Conveniently located two blocks from the Rockville Courthouse, our law office serves clients in Columbia, Frederick, Annapolis, Bethesda, Montgomery County and the rest of Maryland. We also have a satellite office in Bethesda.