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Benefits, Are They Community Property?

Benefits, Are They Community Property?

Arizona Community Property.

If you or your spouse are a retired service member that is divorced or divorcing, I have some news for you: in Arizona, the benefits that are received for military retirement can, and likely will be divided, in part, between you and your (soon-to-be) former spouse.  That is because Arizona is a Community Property State, which in a nutshell means that any property interest acquired by either spouse during the time of the marriage belongs to both people and divorce can be split in half. 

“But what does this have to do with military retirement?” I’m glad you asked. Retirements and pensions are viewed by Arizona as property during a divorce…  I can see you connecting the dots:  If retirement is property, and that “property” was acquired through military service while we were married, then each party can claim a property interest in the retirement.

Arizona Community Property

If you did not know about this before, this news may be a bit troubling, but I have some good news that is disguised as a headache. Just like every time you or your spouse dealt with S-1 (Admin clerks), nothing that the military does is simple.  The benefits that you or your spouse, do, or will eventually, receive as a retired Veteran can be: Military Retirement Benefits; TSP disbursements; Medical Retirement; VA Disability Compensation; Temporary Early Retirement; Super Secret Squirrel Hush Money,…the list goes on. 

Just like there are many ways for Uncle Sam to say, “thank you for your service”, the Arizona Courts have many ways of telling you that you and your former spouse need to share those benefits.  Division of Community Property-as I spoke about earlier-, Spousal Maintenance (commonly known as alimony), and Child Support.

Understanding Community Property

The importance of exactly how, and what, you get paid cannot be understated, as is fully understanding what an Arizona Court can order that you pay. While Federal and State laws provide protections for the spouses of Veterans (i.e. community property interests in retirements), there are also laws that protect Veterans from losing their much needed and hard-earned benefits. 

If you don’t know what laws affect your various benefits from the military, a slick lawyer could have you sign away benefits that you are rightfully entitled to.  Additionally, if you and your lawyer don’t understand the complexities of Military benefits and how Arizona and Federal laws treat each benefit, you won’t be able to protect your rights and claims to them.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Matthew Randle know how the laws treat your benefits, what you will need to pay, and how to protect your claims to them.  Call us at (520) 327-1409, schedule a consultation, and see how dedicated we are to protecting your interests.

Here is some more information on Arizona Community Property

Here is the main page on divorce in Arizona

Complex Family Law Issues Within Military and Veteran Families

Complex Family Law Issues Within Military and Veteran Families

Veteran Family Law Issues.

We will discuss the various sociological, psychological, and legal matters that can face current and former service members and their families.

A class that focuses on the myriad of issues that face current service members, veterans, and their families. Dissecting the psycho-social and legal implications of military service on the individual service member and those in their families. From Military and VA benefits to DV and Divorce, someone who has or is serving brings forth significant differences from the average family law participant. With the current studies demonstrating that less than 1 in 100 United States citizens have a direct relationship to someone who has or is serving in the military, and less than 1% of the population ever serving, the vast majority of people have little understanding of the challenges and implications of military service.

Veteran Family Law Issues

Understanding Military and Veteran Family Law Issues

Learning Objective #1 – Become familiar with the psycho-social challenges associated with military service and reintegration to society after service.

Learning Objective #2 – Become familiar with the various areas military service can and does intersect with the courts.

Learning Objective #3 – Become familiar with the various resources and options available when military-related issues show-up in your work.

List of presenters

  • Matthew Randle, Esq – Former Army Medic (1998-2003) owner and founder of The Law Office of Matthew Randle, which focuses on family law.
  • Andy Meshel, Esq – Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force, UH-60 Helicopter Pilot, Partner/Attorney at The Law Office of Matthew Randle, which focuses on family law.
  • Moderator – TBD – Likely Paul Bennett

Projects try to reduce conflicts that lead to military divorce

Projects try to reduce conflicts that lead to military divorce

Projects try to reduce conflicts that lead to military divorce.

 

According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, the divorce rate for military families has steadily increased since 2001. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the civilian divorce rate has shown a decline over recent years. In Arizona and elsewhere, stresses related to service duties can exert additional strain on a marriage and can play a central role in the decision to seek a military divorce.

military divorce

In an effort to help military spouses reconnect after a deployment or active duty, several programs have been developed. These programs are intended to help spouses and their children find ways to interact outside of the normal stresses of everyday routines. One program involves families spending time in a cabin without distractions such as television to help facilitate communication and family togetherness. 

Programs related to military divorce

Some of the programs offer marriage counseling and classes for handling finances and finding ways to cope with life outside of military duties. Along with the difficulties of reintegrating into civilian life, many service members face challenges posed by injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can take up to a year for an individual to re-acclimate to family life and improve relationships with family members.

These programs are not a cure-all for every family, however. Many couples cannot work through the problems that plague their relationship, and they come to the conclusion that a divorce is the best option for their situation. Arizona residents who have decided to seek a military divorce may be best served by consulting with an attorney who is experienced in military regulations regarding these family law proceedings in order to reach the best settlement agreement.

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The information contained in the Randle Palmer & Bernays website website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as tax or legal advice on any subject matter. Randle Palmer & Bernays provides legal advice and other services only to persons or entities with which it has established a formal attorney-client relationship.