Military Family Law2021-11-20T23:15:51+00:00

Get legal advice from a Kitsap County Military Family Law Attorney!

Military Family Law

Military Family Law

180621-N-FP334-0028 NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. Photo Courtesy of the United States Navy (https://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/photos/180621-N-FP334-0028.JPG)

Family Law is an area of civil, state law that applies equally to military and civilian families.  We discuss the concept of Military Family Law because of the unique circumstances that affect military families involved in family law matters and certain federal laws that modify specific civil rules and legal procedures to fairly accommodate military service members in family law and other civil legal matters.

Our Commitment to Military Service Members and Military Families

The influence of the United States Armed Forces here at Compass Legal Services, P.S. is significant.    Our firm is proud to include Associate Attorney Eric McDonald, a Retired Lieutenant of the United States Navy and former JAG Corps attorney.  Additionally, our founder and Managing Attorney Heather Forrler is the daughter of another retired naval officer. Our staff includes children and spouses of Guardsmen and retired Sailors.  Each of us understands on a very personal level what it means to be a part of a military family and the many challenges and amazing opportunities that come with the territory.

Military Family Law in Kitsap County, Washington

Kitsap County is home to a thriving military community.  Our communities are host to three military installations: Naval Bass Kitsap Bremerton, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor and Naval Base Kitsap Keyport, and are home to between 13,000 and 18,000 active duty service members plus their families.  Additionally, more than a thousand Military Reservists call Kitsap County their home.

According to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, fifty-six percent of active duty service members and only slightly less than half of Military Reservists are married.  Their families include more than a million dependents, including roughly 334,000 children ages 5 or younger.

Family Law covers a wide range of issues that relate to family security and the safety and well being of children.  Such matters include Parentage, Parenting Plans, Child Support, Third Party Custody.  Military Service Members and their Families represent a broad cross-section of our nation and their need for assistance with Family Law matters arises with equal frequency as civilian families.  Some disparity between military and civilian families is encountered; however, when examining the unique circumstances and obstacles faced by military personnel and their families based on the realities of military service.

Aspects of Military Family Law

Any family law matter that a civilian might face may apply to military service members and their families.  Some of these matters include:

  1. Parenting Plans
  2. Child Support
  3. Parentage
  4. Third Party Custody
  5. Property Agreements (including Prenuptial Agreements)

Considerations when hiring a Family Law Lawyer

1. Do you have an open case related to any of the following?

  1. Parenting Plan
  2. Child Support
  3. Third Party Custody
  4. Parentage or Paternity

2. Do you have an existing Parenting Plan or Child Support order that you would like to have modified or enforced?

3. Do you have children, but you are unmarried and no longer in a relationship with the other parent and need to put a parenting plan and child support into place?

4. Are you a military service member and answered yes to any of these questions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and you and your children have lived in Kitsap County for 6 months or more, or you have a court order entered in Kitsap County regarding these matters, you may benefit significantly from hiring or consulting with a local Family Law Attorney.

At Compass Legal Services, P.S. we have on staff a former Naval Officer and JAG Corps attorney with a unique vantage point to assist military service members in Family Law matters.  For more information on Military Family Law services visit our Military Family Law page.

Property Agreements are documents designed to address how domestically related parties (married or unmarried partners in long-term committed relationships) will share assets, property, debts, and responsibilities to each other.  Some common types of property agreements include:

  • Premarital Agreement (Prenuptial Agreements or Prenup) / Post-marital Agreement
  • Community Property Agreement
  • Cohabitation Agreement
  • Separation Agreement

Review the following questions to help you decide if you and your partner should consider creating a Property Agreement.

  1. Are you planning to get married or live with your unmarried partner or other adult and want to ensure that your personal property and assets are protected from “what if’s” that arise in relationships?
  2. Are you already married but you need to memorialize agreements between you and your spouse regarding separate personal property and community property?
  3. Has your spouse, fiancé or significant other asked you to sign a Pre-Marital Agreement (Prenuptial Agreement or Prenup), Post-Marital Agreement, Cohabitation Agreement or some other type of property agreement?

An attorney can explain how property agreements work, what they can and cannot do and draft legal sound documents.  Additionally, both parties should consult with an attorney who can review and provide legal advice regarding the property agreement before it is signed.  Generally speaking, property agreements should only be signed before a Notary.  Compass Legal Services, P.S. can provide notary service for signing property agreements; however, we do not typically notarize agreements unless each party has had a separate attorney review and provide counsel regarding the agreement.

Contacting Compass Legal Services, P.S.

If you are ready to discuss your legal matter with one of our Kitsap County Family Law Attorneys we invite you to call our office at 360.471.3300 to schedule a legal consultation.  We strongly encourage anyone involved in or considering action regarding a Family Law matter to be proactive and reach out for help and guidance, if needed, as early as possible.

Types of Military Family Law Cases

Military family law matters are the same as those faced by civilians.  Due to status of a service, some rules may be different in keeping with state and federal laws.

Under Washington law, a matter may be brought to the court for Child Support Adjustment as soon as 24 months after the last child support order was entered. Adjustments are generally used to recalculate the support based on current incomes of the parents. Either parent may ask for a Child Support Modification based on a significant change in circumstances. If something major has changed that effects the cost of raising the children or effecting the parenting plan, a parent may ask the court to change provisions in the order of child support to accommodate the new situation.
Compass Legal Services, P.S. is happy to provide assistance with both Child Support Adjustment or Child Support Modification. To schedule a consultation please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

Parenting Plans set out the general schedule for which parent is responsible for the children on any particular day. It also sets out how to handle disputes between the parents on child-related matters, and how decisions for the children will be made. Parents of children who live apart, whether ever married to each other or not, can greatly benefit from a parenting plan.
Compass Legal Services, P.S. is happy to provide assistance with establishment, modification or enforcement of a Parenting Plan. To schedule a consultation please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

Third Party Custody matters arise where a third party other than a parent or existing guardian seeks to gain guardianship of a minor child. Often times the third party is a close relative. Many circumstances may create conditions where a parent or current guardian is unable to properly care for the child and a third party custody is considered in the best interest of the child.
Compass Legal Services, P.S. can provide assistance if you are considering a Third Party Custody action. To schedule a consultation please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

Parentage cases are about establishing who is a legal parent of a child. In more recent years, laws regarding who may be considered a legal parent have changed. Parentage must be established before matters such as child support and parenting plans may be addressed.
If you are seeking to establish Parentage of a minor child in Kitsap County, Washington, Compass Legal Services, P.S. may be able to help you. To schedule a consultation please contact our office at 360.471.3300.

When to call a Military Family Law Lawyer

Waiting to reach out for help is always a bad idea, especially if you have been served with court documents that carry a deadline for a response or if a hearing is already scheduled. If you think you need legal advice or don’t feel comfortable managing your case or going to court on your own, don’t wait until a week or a couple of days before a hearing or a deadline to reach out as most firms do not have walk-in availability. Our attorneys can provide you with specific guidance and support to help you address your legal matter with confidence.
To schedule a legal consultation, call our office at 360.471.3300.

Local, State & Military Family Law Resources

Unique Challenges for Military Families

Military service is a way of life and a great deal is asked of military service members and their families.  The impact of the military way of life can place great strain on the family unit and sometimes separate children from their parents.  In circumstances where military service members are also single parents, maintaining the relationship between them and their children can be especially difficult.

Some of the obstacles in military family law:

  1. Deployment
  2. Multiple and Frequent Relocation
  3. The Military Command
  4. Family or Service Member Absenteeism

Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

To prevent undue hardship being placed upon military service members involved in civil legal matters, the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), formerly known as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, makes specific provisions that modify certain rules and procedures in civil law when a party to a case is an active duty military service member.  Such relief, as granted by the SCRA and relevant to Family Law includes, but is not limited to, procedures for limited postponement of civil court matters and protection from default judgements.

These protections are designed to prevent judgement against a service member that could otherwise occur when service members are deployed or otherwise unable to appear or respond promptly in accordance with civil court rules due to the demands of military service.

The Military Family Law Blogs

Compass Legal Services, P.S. goes in depth on topics related to Military Family Law

For more information about specific topics in Military Family Law check out the articles below or visit our full blog.

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