Active Military in Allegheny County: Today We Honor You

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In remembrance of 9/11, our Pittsburgh family law attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates salute our active military personnel serving and protecting our country each and every day. These brave men and women deserve our utmost respect not just today, but each day for the service they provide for our country.

At Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, many of our clients are active military personnel. As a way of saying thank you for their service, our Pittsburgh family law firm provides a free 30-minute initial consultation for active military personnel for their family law matters. This article provides some basic information on family law matters for active military personnel.

Our Pennsylvania Family Law Lawyers have many military clients, and are familiar with the particular laws that affect military personnel and their families. This information is just a brief overview of some of the laws pertinent only to active military personnel.

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA)

What is the SCRA?

This act provides that certain civil lawsuits cannot proceed during a period of time while a soldier or sailor is deployed. This includes family law actions, such as divorce and equitable distribution actions and spousal and child support actions.

How does this affect custody of PA Active Military Personnel’s children?

Service members should contact a civilian attorney before deployment if they have children and are not married, divorced, or separated from their spouse. Seeking a civilian attorney in this situation can be beneficial for child custody purposes, as the SCRA does not always provide for a delay in the determination of custody matters, and these specific arrangements should be made prior to deployment. Dealing with these matters is very important, as the Family Care Plan and Powers of Attorney required by the military that assign custody rights to a person other than the biological parent are not binding on a Family Court judge.

Uniform Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA): This law provides benefits to certain former spouses of military members, allowing state courts to divide military retirement benefits upon divorce in certain circumstances.

Survivor Benefits Plans: This is a plan providing that a military retiree’s pay is paid to a named beneficiary, and this election is made at the time of retirement. In some situations, a service member can be ordered by a Family Court to provide an SBP to a former spouse as part of a divorce settlement.

If you have questions or are an active military member and would like to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys, contact Lisa Marie Vari & Associates today!