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Experienced Military Family Lawyers in Norfolk

Serving Veterans & Their Loved Ones in Virginia Beach

While undergoing a Virginia divorce can be a stressful time for anyone, military divorces can be especially complex for U.S. military servicemembers, not to mention their families and loved ones. Whether you’re a veteran, active-duty member, or reserved member, our experienced advocates have the specialized skills and understanding of military family law to fight for the favorable outcome you deserve. 

Our passionate advocates at The Griffin Law Firm, PLLC are more than skilled lawyers. As veterans, we understand the unique legal challenges that can accompany military disputes in Virginia courts, which is why our firm is committed to serving deserving military families in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and beyond. From military divorce to children born abroad, you can count on our compassionate team can advocate tirelessly on your behalf while keeping your best interests at heart. 

Military family law comes with unique challenges. Contact us online to discuss your case with a skilled Norfolk military family lawyer.

Comprehensive Military Family Law Services in Virginia

At our firm, we understand the unique challenges that military families face when it comes to resolving family law matters in Virginia. Our dedicated team of military family lawyers is here to provide comprehensive legal support and guidance to veterans and their loved ones in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and the surrounding areas.

We have extensive experience representing military families in a range of family law disputes, including

Military Divorce

Military divorces involve the dissolution of a marriage where one or both spouses are serving in the military. Unlike normal civilian divorces, a military divorce can entail additional complications due to deployments, frequent relocations, and the division of military benefits. Fortunately, our confident military family lawyers have the in-depth knowledge and skillset to assist with a variety of divorce-related disputes, including: 

  • Military Property Division – Determining the division of military pensions, retirement benefits, housing allowances, and other military-specific assets is often a complex part of a military divorce. Understanding state-specific laws and related regulations surrounding these assets is crucial to ensuring a fair division in family court. 
  • Military Child Custody – Military child custody disputes often arise when service members are required to relocate due to changes in duty stations or deployments. Determining a custody arrangement that serves the best interests of the child while accommodating the unique circumstances of military life requires careful consideration.
  • Military Child Support – Virginia family courts can take various factors into account when calculating child support in military families, such as housing allowances, combat pay, and other military-specific income. An accurate assessment is vital to ensure military children are well cared for. 
  • Military Spousal Support – Military spousal support, also known as alimony, is determined based on factors like the length of the marriage, U.S. military servicemembers’ income, and the non-military spouse's financial needs, if applicable. Understanding the intricacies of military pay and benefits is crucial to achieving a fair resolution in a Virginia military divorce. 
  • Military Retirement – Military retirement benefits are subject to specific rules and regulations during division in a divorce. Determining how these benefits will be distributed requires a comprehensive understanding of military family law and related regulations to ensure that retirement funds are divided fairly in military divorces.

Understanding Military Family Law in Virginia

Unlike civilian family law, military family law is subject to certain state and federal laws that can make such legal disputes more difficult and complex to navigate, let alone resolve. Regardless of the family matter you’re facing, it’s imperative for military couples and families to work with an attorney with a specific understanding of military family law and sufficient experience serving families in similar cases. 

In Virginia, there are various laws that uniquely apply to veterans and U.S. servicemembers engaged in family-related disputes, including:

Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that addresses the division of military pensions and other benefits in divorce cases involving military service members. It provides guidelines for the treatment of military retired pay and establishes certain rights and protections for former spouses of military members. It can affect factors like:

  • The division of military pensions – USFSPA allows state courts to treat military retired pay as marital property subject to division in divorce proceedings. In Virginia, the court has the authority to divide military pensions between the service member and the non-military spouse based on factors such as the length of the marriage and the service member's years of creditable service.
  • Direct payments – USFSPA permits the court to order the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to directly pay a portion of the military pension to the former spouse. This method ensures that the former spouse receives their share of the pension directly from the DFAS without relying on the service member for payment.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) – The USFSPA requires the former spouse to be designated as the beneficiary of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) unless otherwise agreed upon. The SBP provides the former spouse with continued financial support in the event of the service member's death.
  • Benefit protection – The USFSPA protects the rights of former spouses by ensuring that they do not lose access to military medical benefits, commissary privileges, or exchange privileges after divorce, provided they meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the law.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) 

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides legal protections and benefits to active-duty military service members. It aims to alleviate the burdens and distractions placed on service members as they fulfill their military duties. In Virginia, the SCRA can affect military family law in the following ways:

  • Stay of proceedings The SCRA allows service members to request a “stay” (temporary halt) of certain civil proceedings, such as divorce, child custody, or child support cases. This provision is in place to ensure that service members have the opportunity to focus on their military duties without the additional stress of legal proceedings.
  • Default judgments –Under the SCRA, service members who are unable to appear in court due to military service have protection against default judgments. This means that if a service member is not able to respond to a lawsuit or attend a court hearing, the court may postpone the proceedings to allow the service member an opportunity to participate.
  • Termination of leases The SCRA allows service members to terminate residential leases, including those for housing, if they receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders or are deployed for a period of at least 90 days. This provision helps ensure that service members are not burdened with unnecessary financial obligations while fulfilling their military obligations.
  • Interest rate cap –The SCRA limits the interest rates that can be applied to certain financial obligations incurred prior to military service. This provision prevents excessive interest charges on loans and credit cards during periods of active duty, providing financial relief to service members and their families.
  • Eviction protection – The SCRA provides eviction protection for service members and their dependents, ensuring that they cannot be evicted from their primary residence without a court order while on active duty. This protection helps maintain stability and housing security for military families.

What Sets Military Family Law Disputes Apart? 

Military family law differs from civilian family law due to the unique circumstances that service members and their families face. Some unique challenges of military family law disputes in Virginia include: 

  • Frequent relocations – Military families often experience frequent moves due to changes in duty stations, which can complicate child custody arrangements and disrupt established visitation schedules.
  • Deployment challenges – Deployment can significantly impact child custody, visitation, and support arrangements. Ensuring the best interests of the child are protected while accommodating the service member's military obligations requires skilled legal representation.
  • Military benefits – Understanding the intricacies of military benefits, such as pensions, healthcare, and housing allowances, is crucial when addressing property division and financial support matters in military family law cases.
  • Complex jurisdictional issues – Military families may have connections to multiple states or even international locations, which can create complex jurisdictional issues when it comes to filing for divorce or determining child custody.
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) – The USFSPA governs the division of military retirement benefits in divorces. Compliance with this federal law requires specialized knowledge and experience in military family law.
  • Emotional toll Military family law disputes can be emotionally draining for all parties involved. Having a compassionate attorney who understands the unique challenges military families face can provide much-needed support during this difficult time.

Contact a Trusted Military Lawyer in Norfolk

At The Griffin Law Firm, PLLC, we’re proud to offer premium legal services to our fellow U.S. servicemembers throughout Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Our firm is committed to delivering superior representation to all active-duty members, reserved members, and veterans facing family law disputes in the state of Virginia. With a hard-earned reputation for providing dynamic and effective advocacy for military servicemembers and their loved ones, you can count on us to advocate aggressively on your behalf from start to finish, helping you and your loved ones achieve the resolution you deserve by guiding your steps with sound counsel, honesty, and care. We charge for our family law consultations and the consult fee will be provided by counsel.

Preparing for a military divorce or custody case in Virginia? Call (888) 707-4282 to schedule a consultation with an accomplished military family lawyer.

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