What Every Virginia Woman Needs to Know About Divorce

By Sheera Herrell, Lori Michaud and Katherine Wilcox Carter

What You Need to Know About Separation, Custody, Support and Divorce

Whether you’re an active duty military service member or you’re married to one (or either you or your husband are retired from active duty military service), you’re probably wondering what your first steps should be as you consider a separation or divorce. You probably already know that there are some things about a military divorce that are different from a civilian divorce. …But what? And where do you go to get the information that you need? If you’re like most military spouses and service members, your first thought is to go to the JAG office. But you’ll probably find that they aren’t really all that helpful. In general, we’ve heard that they are the most helpful to the active duty service member—so, if you’re just the spouse, you may find that their willingness to help you only extends so far. Besides that, JAG attorneys really aren’t able to help. They practice military law, which is different from Virginia law. In fact, many of the JAG attorneys in your local office may not even be licensed to practice law in Virginia. At some point, they passed the bar in a state, but not necessarily the state in which they are currently stationed—and they don’t take a new bar exam for each state where they become stationed later on down the road. So, most JAG attorneys can’t really give you advice—at least, not based off of Virginia law. They can’t draft your separation agreement, represent you in a Virginia court, or even give you advice about what you could expect in court. JAG attorneys are great in a lot of ways, but aren’t so helpful when it comes to divorce. For divorce or separation advice, you’ll want to talk to a licensed Virginia attorney.

Where should I go to get up to date, Virginia specific information about military divorce?

Great question! Probably the best place to start is by requesting a free copy of our military divorce book, “What Every Virginia Military Wife Needs to Know About Divorce.” It was written by licensed Virginia military divorce attorneys, and it includes all sorts of valuable information. In it, you’ll learn: • How military pensions are divided in Virginia (and whether you’ll get any); • What happens to your military health insurance and other benefits; • Step by step information about how military divorce in Virginia is handled; • How property is divided; • How custody and visitation are handled (especially in cases where there may be a deployment or a change in permanent duty station); • What financial documents you’ll need (like that LES statement); • How law like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Post-911 GI Bill can affect your divorce; • How SBP, TSP, BAH, and other military specific things are handled in your divorce. In many ways, military and civilian divorce aren’t all that different—but there are enough military specific programs that you’ll want to make sure you’re familiar, ahead of time, with how they’ll be divided in divorce.

Why should I read your military divorce book for Virginia women?

There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s hard to tell what you can trust from what’s just junk. There’s a lot at stake in your military divorce case, so you want to make sure you have the most up to date, Virginia specific information possible—and that’s exactly what we can provide. Our divorce book was written specifically by Virginia military divorce attorneys from the Hofheimer Family Law Firm. It’s up to date, it’s Virginia specific, and it’s full of the type of information you need to begin to plan your next steps. It’s also written specifically for women—something you won’t find anywhere else.

How quickly will I receive my copy?

Once you fill out our easy online form, you’ll receive an electronic copy of the book in minutes. Then, you can print it out or read it directly on your computer—it’s entirely up to you! If you live in our immediate area, you’ll receive another email asking you for your address. If you fill it out (it’s totally up to you), we’ll ship you (free of charge) a hard copy of the book, so that you can write in the margins, highlight key passages, and easily read and re-read parts.

I want more military divorce information. Where else should I go?

Great!  After all, the more information, the better, right?  If you still want more information after you’ve read the book, consider signing up for our military divorce e-course. After you receive your email with the electronic version of the military divorce book attached, you’ll also be asked whether you’d like to sign up for our military divorce e-course. It’s an email web course, written and created for you by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia military divorce attorneys, that goes into more detail about how Virginia law works in military separation and divorce cases. It’s a great way to learn a little more about the divorce process! Want to ask questions directly to an attorney? Consider attending our monthly divorce seminar. We teach it three times a month, in Virginia Beach and Newport News, and each seminar is taught by one of our attorneys—so you can ask your questions directly. For more information about our divorce seminars, or to register, just click here.

I’m afraid to give you my contact information.

We understand how you’re feeling, and know that this is a really vulnerable time. If your husband has access to your email account, consider setting up a new gmail account by clicking here. We never sell your contact information, or contact you in any unexpected way. If you elect to participate in the military divorce e-course, for example, you’ll receive extra emails; if you don’t, though, we’ll stop emailing. We’ll keep your contact information private. If you want a hard copy of our book, but don’t want it sent to your home, send it to a friend or neighbor’s house (or even your work address) instead. We’ll send it in a plain manila envelope, with no return label or anything that identifies the contents. We take your privacy very seriously.

I’m ready to order my copy of the Virginia military divorce book for women now. Where do I go?

On the right hand side of the page, in the gray text box, fill in the information requested, and click submit!  It's that easy.  You’ll receive your e copy right away! It’s a great choice, and the best way to get up to date, Virginia specific military divorce and custody information. For more information, or to go ahead and schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.