Kowalski Family Law Blog

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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that can have important consequences in a Wisconsin divorce case. All family lawyers handling divorce, paternity, or child-related matters should be aware of at least the Act’s basic rules. I will dedicate a series of blogs on this topic to clarify the Act. The first version of the Act was created during World War II, then updated in 1991 and 2003 The Act applies to active duty members, and mobilized Reservists and National Guard members. The SCRA’s purpose is to allow military members to devote themselves to service by limiting…
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that can have important consequences in a Wisconsin divorce case. All family lawyers handling divorce, paternity, or child-related matters should be aware of at least the Act’s basic rules. I will dedicate a series of blogs on this topic to clarify the Act. The first version of the Act was created during World War II, then updated in 1991 and 2003 The Act applies to active duty members, and mobilized Reservists and National Guard members. The SCRA’s purpose is to allow military members to devote themselves to service by limiting…
All states permit the division of a servicemember’s military retired pay in divorce. Not all states handled the division the same way, however. Some states assume that the entire benefit is divided between the former spouses, some separate out the portion earned by the servicemember prior to marriage (often through a calculation known as a “coverture fraction”), and so on. The federal government does not usually get involved in divorce laws, leaving those mostly to individual states. However, the federal government did provide some guidance regarding one aspect of dividing military retired pay. The “frozen benefit rule” applies to servicemembers…
All states permit the division of a servicemember’s military retired pay in divorce. Not all states handled the division the same way, however. Some states assume that the entire benefit is divided between the former spouses, some separate out the portion earned by the servicemember prior to marriage (often through a calculation known as a “coverture fraction”), and so on. The federal government does not usually get involved in divorce laws, leaving those mostly to individual states. However, the federal government did provide some guidance regarding one aspect of dividing military retired pay. The “frozen benefit rule” applies to servicemembers…
All states permit the division of a servicemember’s military retired pay in divorce. Not all states handled the division the same way, however. Some states assume that the entire benefit is divided between the former spouses, some separate out the portion earned by the servicemember prior to marriage (often through a calculation known as a “coverture fraction”), and so on. The federal government does not usually get involved in divorce laws, leaving those mostly to individual states. However, the federal government did provide some guidance regarding one aspect of dividing military retired pay. The “frozen benefit rule” applies to servicemembers…
All states permit the division of a servicemember’s military retired pay in divorce. Not all states handled the division the same way, however. Some states assume that the entire benefit is divided between the former spouses, some separate out the portion earned by the servicemember prior to marriage (often through a calculation known as a “coverture fraction”), and so on. The federal government does not usually get involved in divorce laws, leaving those mostly to individual states. However, the federal government did provide some guidance regarding one aspect of dividing military retired pay. The “frozen benefit rule” applies to servicemembers…
Servicemembers have two retirement assets available: military retired pay (a pension) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the equivalent of a 401k. Divorcing servicemembers and their spouses must be aware of both plans to ensure a fair division. This article will address only the TSP. Unlike many private 401k plans, TSP does not limit the servicemember’s contributions. Members can contribute as much of their pay, including most special pay, incentives, etc. as they wish. Like a 401k however, contributions are tax-deferred. This means that the contributions are made from pay pre-tax, reducing the taxable income, but are taxed later upon…
Servicemembers have two retirement assets available: military retired pay (a pension) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the equivalent of a 401k. Divorcing servicemembers and their spouses must be aware of both plans to ensure a fair division. This article will address only the TSP. Unlike many private 401k plans, TSP does not limit the servicemember’s contributions. Members can contribute as much of their pay, including most special pay, incentives, etc. as they wish. Like a 401k however, contributions are tax-deferred. This means that the contributions are made from pay pre-tax, reducing the taxable income, but are taxed later upon…
Servicemembers have two retirement assets available: military retired pay (a pension) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the equivalent of a 401k. Divorcing servicemembers and their spouses must be aware of both plans to ensure a fair division. This article will address only the TSP. Unlike many private 401k plans, TSP does not limit the servicemember’s contributions. Members can contribute as much of their pay, including most special pay, incentives, etc. as they wish. Like a 401k however, contributions are tax-deferred. This means that the contributions are made from pay pre-tax, reducing the taxable income, but are taxed later upon…
Servicemembers have two retirement assets available: military retired pay (a pension) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the equivalent of a 401k. Divorcing servicemembers and their spouses must be aware of both plans to ensure a fair division. This article will address only the TSP. Unlike many private 401k plans, TSP does not limit the servicemember’s contributions. Members can contribute as much of their pay, including most special pay, incentives, etc. as they wish. Like a 401k however, contributions are tax-deferred. This means that the contributions are made from pay pre-tax, reducing the taxable income, but are taxed later upon…
In the United States, more than 15 million children live in a home in which domestic violence has occurred.* If you are a parent and a domestic violence survivor who is considering a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, protecting a child from the effects of domestic violence in the home can be a significant concern. During these legal processes, survivor parents often seek to shield children from a violent parent, by filing a motion with the Court. In that motion, a parent may allege that violence in the home has negatively affected the children. Many times, the child’s behavior…
In the United States, more than 15 million children live in a home in which domestic violence has occurred.* If you are a parent and a domestic violence survivor who is considering a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, protecting a child from the effects of domestic violence in the home can be a significant concern. During these legal processes, survivor parents often seek to shield children from a violent parent, by filing a motion with the Court. In that motion, a parent may allege that violence in the home has negatively affected the children. Many times, the child’s behavior…
In the United States, more than 15 million children live in a home in which domestic violence has occurred.* If you are a parent and a domestic violence survivor who is considering a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, protecting a child from the effects of domestic violence in the home can be a significant concern. During these legal processes, survivor parents often seek to shield children from a violent parent, by filing a motion with the Court. In that motion, a parent may allege that violence in the home has negatively affected the children. Many times, the child’s behavior…
In the United States, more than 15 million children live in a home in which domestic violence has occurred.* If you are a parent and a domestic violence survivor who is considering a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, protecting a child from the effects of domestic violence in the home can be a significant concern. During these legal processes, survivor parents often seek to shield children from a violent parent, by filing a motion with the Court. In that motion, a parent may allege that violence in the home has negatively affected the children. Many times, the child’s behavior…
A spouse divorcing a servicemember in Wisconsin can learn quite a bit from the member’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). The LES is the military equivalent of a civilian paystub, though it includes much more useful information. The LES shows the total pay, entitlements, deductions, allotments, and other information relating to the servicemember. They are provided by the Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) once per month. Some of the more important data in the LES include the below, and are often labeled clearly on the document: The member’s pay grade. The branch of the armed forces. The date of…
A spouse divorcing a servicemember in Wisconsin can learn quite a bit from the member’s Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). The LES is the military equivalent of a civilian paystub, though it includes much more useful information. The LES shows the total pay, entitlements, deductions, allotments, and other information relating to the servicemember. They are provided by the Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) once per month. Some of the more important data in the LES include the below, and are often labeled clearly on the document: The member’s pay grade. The branch of the armed forces. The date of…