Monday, August 1, 2016

A Maryland Military Divorce primer regarding retirement benefits

Specific state and federal laws govern military divorce. Civil courts will preside over divorces for military personnel, just like they do for civilians. Some differences in the law will apply to a military divorce, however. One such difference involves military pensions.

Divorce basics
In order for a Maryland family law court to have jurisdiction over a military divorce, a member of the U.S. armed services or his or her spouse must reside in the state or be stationed there. An active duty military member, unlike a civilian, cannot "default" on divorce proceedings. These state and federal laws protect soldiers from becoming divorced without knowing it or having a reasonable amount of time to handle divorce proceedings.

The local Maryland court that has jurisdiction may postpone the divorce until the military member is no longer on active duty. If the military member so chooses, however, he or she can waive this right and move on with the divorce. In addition, that member must be personally served with divorce papers, they cannot be mailed.

Dividing assets
Maryland state law governs property division in divorce. Maryland is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning that the presiding judge will divide marital assets fairly, not necessarily equally, once the divorce is finalized. Military pensions are marital property and will be included in the equitable distribution settlement.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Maryland Military Divorce Attorney | Fort Meade, Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Columbia

Divorce Lawyer in Columbia, Maryland Serving Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard Personnel

Unfortunately, the stresses of a military marriage far outweigh a regular marriage, and in many cases the pressures and circumstances lead to a divorce. When this is the only option left, it is important that you have legal representation that understands the rules regarding military divorce. Many of the same issues exist in a civilian divorce, such as child custody and visitation, division of assets and debts, and alimony.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Military Divorce Overview by Maryland Attorney

A Divorce can be a confusing, complicated, and stressful time for military couples. However, gaining a general understanding of how this process works, while seeking to identify the specific issues that may apply in your case, can greatly reduce the time, expense, and emotional strain of a divorce. While you will largely follow the same process and procedures as a civilian couple when filing for divorce, there are unique legal issues which may apply result of military service. These issues may include determining the custody of children, calculating child and spousal support, and determining if any post-divorce benefits apply.
While divorce is largely governed by state law and local procedures, depending on where you file, there are certain federal statutes and military regulations which may be applicable to your divorce. Examples include the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, which can affect how disposable military retired pay is divided between the service member and former spouse, as well as determining eligibility for continued medical, commissary, installation exchange, and other benefits.

Military Divorce Overview

Generally, the military views divorce as a private civil matter to be addressed by a civilian court. Commanders rarely get involved in domestic situations except in limited cases, such as a claim by a dependent that he or she is being denied adequate financial support by the service member spouse. Even in such cases, a commander's authority is limited, absent a civilian court order.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Difference Between Military Divorce and Civilian Divorces in Maryland

If you are one of the nearly 1.1 million active duty American military personnel stationed around the world -- or if you’re married to someone who is -- you’ll be dealing with some divorce issues that don’t affect civilians. Having one’s spouse in the military affects:
  • where your divorce will be filed
  • how support is calculated
  • custody and visitation decisions, and
  • pension rights and other benefits.
In all these areas, service members have certain rights and obligations that are very different from those of civilians.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Military Pension Division Roadblocks and Minefields

The battlefield in military divorces is often military pension division. It is essential to learn and understand the unique set of rules in military pension division. The basic issues for the military spouse (usually the wife) in the divorce battlefield are the first topics covered below.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dondi West Named to 2014 Super Lawyers Rising Stars List

The Law Office of Dondi West is pleased to announce that founding attorney Dondi West has been selected to the 2014 Maryland Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Military Retirement Pay and Divorce Overview

 1.  NO AUTOMATIC ENTITLEMENT.  Federal law does not provide any automatic or absolute right for a divorced spouse of a military servicemember to receive any portion of the servicemember’s military retired pay, regardless of the length of the marriage. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Military Divorce Attorney in Maryland

Maryland Military Divorce Lawyer Making it Easy For You

Divorce Attorney Servicing Military Members, Spouses and Dependants

If you are faced with the unfortunate choice of filing for divorce or some other family law matter you will want the most effective Maryland military divorce lawyer on your side. The outcome of your case will affect your family’s future welfare for years to come. We handle all the paperwork, and do all of the work necessary to complete your divorce. Just give us a call, and we'll take care of everything.

Former Military Officer

We believe our intense focus on military family law gives us an edge in the cases we take on. Dondi West is a qualified legal professional with an assorted background in family law and other areas of the law. As a former military Officer, he can apply his extensive experience as a family law attorney, to any family law situation and apply practiced legal strategies. He understands military life, and he can make this process easier for you.

The Law Office of Dondi West specializes in assisting military personnel with all family law & divorce issues. We understand just how difficult it can be to deal with this traumatic event. You or your spouse may be on agreeable terms and trying to work things out, however, a divorce still requires a legal process that needs to be filed properly in order to ensure the terms of an agreement.

The divorce agreement needs to work for both parties and ensure your children (if you have any) are protected. Our law firm offers a free initial case evaluation at any of our firm’s convenient locations. To discuss your particular family matter and have us evaluate your case, contact us so we may determine how we can help. We will take the time to understand any concerns you have and to properly address any questions. We can provide you with important information about your rights and options, which will assist you in making the right decision about your case. With any case we represent, our principal goal is to provide the level of representation that our clients require and deserve.

Divorce Lawyer Servicing Military Families

Through its vast experience in Military law, The Law Office of Dondi West services all branches of the Military, making it easy for our military personnel to quickly and rapidly get through their divorce proceeding. Whether you are an active or retired member of the Army, Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps, our law firm is ready to help you resolve the serious matter that lies ahead of you: divorce. Having to face legal issues such as divorce can come as a disheartening event for any person, but an attorney can help provide you with the legal knowledge you need to make it through. Filing for divorce comes with many difficulties, including making decisions regarding child custody, child support, alimony / spousal support, and visitation rights; your lawyer will be able to provide you with information as to your rights to help support your decisions.

Our firm specializes in assisting military personnel to rapidly get through the difficult process of a divorce and all that it entails. Filing all the legal paperwork and knowing exactly what is needed to rapidly conclude your family law matter is one of our specialties. Little to nothing will be needed by you in order to obtain the best outcome for your divorce situation.

Why Hire a Military Divorce Attorney?

While you can attempt to file for divorce yourself in court or during mediation, doing so may lead to negative consequences on the result of your divorce agreement. There are specific legal proceedings and filings that will deal with a number of important issues that will ultimately impact your future. Issues that need to be addressed are spousal support, child custody and support, visitation rights and division of property are just a few of these. An experienced Military divorce attorney will observe your interests and effectively guide you through the legal procedure. The end result will be an outcome that is beneficial to you and your children.

Founding attorney Dondi West and his staff are experienced in assisting military families in arriving at a quick and equitable divorce settlement. Contact The Law Office of Dondi West today for compassionate assistance and experience in handling any divorce situation for your military family.

Areas of Focus for Military Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Dondi West has a varied and knowledgeable record of family law and is able to represent you in any issue that you may require assistance with. With the experience serving on active duty in the military, Dondi West can quickly and rapidly move your divorce case to a beneficial conclusion. Some of the issues we can provide legal defense for are:
  • Divorce
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Annulment
  • Legal Separation
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Visitation
  • Division of Property
  • Spousal Support
  • Paternity
  • Paternal Rights
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Domestic Violence
Contact a Maryland Military divorce lawyer at The Law Office of Dondi West today for a free consultation.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Military Divorce Attorneys in Maryland

Protecting Your Rights in Military Divorce

Divorce is complicated enough when both parents are available to meet and discuss the situation. However, if one spouse is in the military and serving out-of-state, it can be more challenging to resolve divorce matters. There are additional elements — such as jurisdictional issues and retirement benefits — that must be addressed by an experienced military divorce lawyer.

At DONWEST Legal, we have substantial experience representing clients throughout Maryland, and the surrounding communities in military divorce matters. We also work with clients who are stationed at Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Andrews, or those who are serving overseas. Contact our firm online or call 410-740-5646 to schedule your initial consultation.

Representation for Overseas Service Members

If you or your spouse is serving abroad, including those in Iraq, Afghanistan or Korea, you can still move forward with divorce proceedings. Many uncontested divorces can be resolved without the service member returning to Maryland.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) of 2003 replaced the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940. The act was designed to give military personnel relief from the stress of civil litigation while they were focused on their mission. The SCRA gives service members and their families protections in a variety of civil procedures, including foreclosure, repossession and divorce. The SCRA affects every aspect of Maryland military divorces, including:
  • Child custody and child support
  • Spousal support
  • Retirement benefits and pension
  • Post-decree modifications
  • Jurisdictional proceedings
Although the SCRA offers service members relief in a variety of family law situations, it does not offer total protection. For example, although child support payments are temporarily suspended, they continue to accumulate. We offer clients the representation they need to help ensure their rights are protected throughout their military divorce.

Schedule your appointment with an experienced attorney by contacting us online or by calling 410-740-5646.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fort Meade to close golf course after more than six decades of play

The golf course at Fort Meade will close May 1 after more than six decades of play, officials at the Army base said Thursday.

The 27-hole course, which saw 35,000 rounds of play last year, had been scheduled to close in September to accommodate building projects at the rapidly growing installation. But the date was moved up to accommodate construction deadlines, effectively canceling the final season of play.
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