Lawyers Who Specialise in Military Divorce – wherever you are based
Our Military Divorce and Family Lawyers understand not only that any family break up causes enormous stress, but that there are issues making an Armed Forces divorce quite different from those of civilians and requiring particular knowledge.
No fault divorce law update
The new so-called “no fault” divorce, a simpler divorce process, came into effect on April 6th 2022. As a result, the following changes were introduced for both divorce and civil partnership dissolution.
- there is now no need to satisfy the court of 1 of the 5 facts – grounds for divorce. As a result you won’t need to prove adultery or “unreasonable behaviour”. Instead you only need to confirm that your divorce has “irretrievably broken down”
- you and your spouse can, for the 1st time, make the application for divorce together
- you can no longer defend a divorce
- some of the legal wording is finally updated. ‘Decree nisi’ is now known as a conditional order and ‘decree absolute’ referred to as a final order
The introduction of “no-fault divorce” in April 2022, prompted our divorce and family law team to offer a fixed-price divorce.
Click here to find out more about our £500 Fixed Fee Divorce Service (our fixed price service applies only to divorce, and doesn’t cover any legal advice on children or financial issues. It also excludes the court fee)
How important is appointing a genuine specialist Armed Forces family lawyers?
Whether you are a serving, or retired, soldier thinking of divorce or separation, or a military spouse, we strongly recommend that you use solicitors who are not only divorce specialists, but who are also highly experienced in dealing with the Armed Forces – whether we’re talking the Army, RAF or Royal Navy – or retired forces personnel. Military Divorces involve various specialist issues, ranging from HM Forces pensions, service accommodation to education issues – and appointing a specialist family law solicitor who really understands the military to represent you is really important.
You can rest assured, however, that our team of experienced family lawyers have enormous experience in dealing with divorce and family law issues for the Armed Forces. Around half our family team’s work involves serving or retired HM Forces personnel. So they really understand your problems and will act to safeguard your position swiftly and with complete discretion. And what’s more, the head of our 4 strong family law team is a serving Deputy District Judge as well – so we know exactly how the courts treat divorce and pensions. And he is also the son of an Royal Army Medical Corps Colonel, so he’s experienced military family life at 1st hand.
Getting your military pension right is often the critical issue
In particular our family law team understand that a large part of this stress comes from financial worries on both sides. For serving or retired military personnel, whether you are a Bombardier or Brigadier, the financial worries of divorce often revolve around the military pension.
It’s critical, for example, when going through divorce, to make sure your chosen solicitor understands the three different types of military pension and how to get the correct valuation. Sadly far too many solicitors simply don’t have sufficient expertise to deal adequately with Forces personnel and their family law problems.
See below for more about divorce and your military pension.
Worried about Military Divorce? Our Lawyers offer FREE legal advice
Our family law and divorce team offer:
- FREE initial phone advice
- a FREE first 30 minute appointment for all aspects of military divorce and family law advice – face-to-face if your local and happy to meet, or on Zoom video if not
Remember we can represent you wherever you are based in the UK – and if you are posted or deployed overseas.
So call us now on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 on locally on either Salisbury  422300 or Amesbury  622992
Don’t forget that we offer an exclusive 10% discount to both serving and retired military personnel.
Our Military Divorce team can help you wherever you are based
Our Divorce and Family Law practice is the largest in Salisbury, Andover and Amesbury, with unrivalled experience in providing legal advice to the Armed Forces throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset, nationwide and when posted overseas. Over the years, our team have helped military personnel with divorce and family law issues in plenty of locations abroad – including Kandahar, Iraq, Singapore and Germany.
However our family lawyers don’t even need to meet you. We regularly represent Armed Forces personnel at home or abroad on the basis of email, phone and Zoom or FaceTime video instructions.
How Military Family Lawyers can help you
Our experienced Family Law Solicitors can advise on all aspects of family law for Army, RAF and Royal Navy personnel including:
- Armed Forces Divorce
- Financial issues including military pensions and maintainance.
Click here to read more about divorce and financial issues
- Relationship breakdown and property rights
Our Family Lawyers are real specialists – divorce and family law is all they do, and about 50% of that work is for military clients nationwide and overseas.
We also take training and developing our lawyers very seriously- and that’s why the team includes an accredited Collaborative lawyer.
Military Divorce and My Pension – What Do I Stand To Lose?
The Armed Forces Pension Scheme allows orders to be made upon divorce to share anything between 1% and 100% of your pension with your spouse. A military pension is a very important asset in financial terms, and for many service personnel is by far their most valuable financial asset.
So don’t run the risk of losing too much of your pension. Protect your interests by getting specialist legal advice as soon as you can from family lawyers who really understand the military – from solicitors like us.
Click here to find out more about Armed Forces Pensions and Divorce
How Much Is My Military Pension Actually Worth?
Making sure your pension has been valued properly is the first stage.
Firstly, many solicitors don’t regularly deal with military divorce, and are often completely unaware that there is more than one military pension – where there are, of course, three different schemes – AFPS 75, AFPS 05 and AFPS 15.
Secondly, we don’t usually rely on the standard valuation from the Veterans UK Pension Division in Kentigern House in Glasgow, which actually often undervalues a military pension. Instead we routinely appoint a expert who this can accurately value your pension. Unfortunately, when it comes to military divorce, this is something many family lawyers struggle with too.
But does it really matter to get the wrong valuation?
Yes. Without a report from a specialist actuary, an inaccurate valuation this could mean you end up paying out far more than you should, especially given that in some cases your spouse can elect to take their pension aged 55, 60 or 65.
Can My Military Pension Be Split Up After Divorce?
Yes, it’s possible but doesn’t happen every case. It really depends on your personal financial circumstances. Pension splitting orders are one of the options available to the court when making any financial settlement on divorce – and that applies to military pensions too.
Fortunately in most cases, our experienced military divorce lawyers are successful in negotiating settlements without the delay expense and pressure of a contested court hearing.
In reaching a financial settlement, whether it’s done by agreement or by order of the court, your pension will be considered as part of the assets of the family.
Depending on various factors, including the length of the marriage, and the availability of other assets, it may be necessary to share your military pension.
If that is your choice, or is it only practical option available, pension sharing can be done either through a Pension Sharing Order or an Attachment Order. Tax differences between the two are important, and the most commonly used arrangement is the Pension Sharing Order, where each party pays their own tax.
Our military family law team can discuss with you what’s right given your personal circumstances. And if some form of pension sharing is essential, they will advise on the most sensible way for you to arrange paying part of your pension to your ex-spouse.
Cutting Military Divorce Costs – practical tips to cut your legal costs
Our family law solicitors understand that not only is divorce a very painful process, but it can prove very expensive too. Apart from the fact that two households are more expensive to run than one, legal costs can mount up. However, by following these simple tips, you can help keep your legal bill down.
♦ Prepare for your first meeting
If you’re the one filing for divorce, then it will save your solicitor time and you money if you arrive at the first meeting (whether it’s face-to-face by phone or video call) with a written summary of the basic circumstances of your case, including those set out below. Your military divorce solicitor will then not need to spend time getting these simple facts from you:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your date of birth
- Your spouse’s full name
- The names and ages of any children
- A rough summary of your family’s finances, including details of any property, its approximate value and any debt outstanding, details of any military pension, shares, savings, endowment policies or other investments, any other debts or assets
- Produce your marriage certificate
If you intend to file for divorce, let your solicitor have either the original marriage certificate or obtain a certified copy from your local Registry Office.
♦ Complete Form E
Form E is a large court document setting out full details of the family’s finances. By completing as much of it as possible yourself and by letting your divorce Solicitor have as much supporting documentation as you can, you will reduce your legal bill. Please note that you must keep strictly to the various notes on the form as to which documents are required.
♦ Get your pension valuation yourself
One of the largest family assets that any member of HM Forces will have is their military pension. Like it or not, your pension is taken into account when getting a military divorce. The court will consider your family assets,which includes that pension, and how they should be divided up between you and your spouse. You will always need to get an up-to-date pension valuation from AFPAA at Mailpoint 480, Kentigern House, 65 Brown Street, Glasgow G2 8EX. A simple letter to them, preferably including a Form P for completion by them will save you money.
♦ Get financial documents yourself
As part of the preparation for any negotiation concerning family finances, you will need to provide many documents. Ask your solicitor what is needed in your particular case, but it is likely to include:
- A valuation of your home if you own it; we suggest you get three (usually free) market appraisals from local estate agents.
- Your P60 and three recent payslips
- One year’s bank statements
- Your latest credit card bill and redemption statements for any HP or loan agreements
- Details of any substantial asset you own (e.g. life insurance policy, shares etc)
- Obtain a mortgage redemption statement from your mortgage company
♦ Respond promptly to letters without being reminded
Remember, your solicitor will charge for every letter and phone call so restricting them as far as possible will help to keep your bill down.
♦ Ask your solicitor if there is anything else you can do yourself
♦ Consider Family Mediation or Collaborative Law
Although family mediation and collaborative law are different and require a quite separate qualification, both emphasize cooperation and seek to achieve an agreed solution to family breakdown – and to avoid expensive court battles. Both approaches often produce swift and less expensive outcomes in both divorce and other family law issues.
So whether you are going through an Army, Navy or Air Force Divorce, contact us today for legal advice from an expert Military Divorce Solicitor
For further ideas on how to keep your legal costs down, click here to read our advice on mistakes to avoid in divorce
Thinking of getting divorced? Any delay could cost you. Call our Military Divorce Solicitors today
We would never recommend any client get divorced until they are sure it’s the right decision for them, and that the time is right.
However, every time you get promoted, the value of your pension increases. If you have sadly decided that your marriage has broken down beyond all hope of reconciliation, you may want to act promptly to protect your finances.
The date at which you can start to claim any pension is after 16 years serving as an officer, or 22 years serving in other ranks. If you are part of the 1975 pension scheme and have been in the military for some time, these dates may be rapidly approaching. A pension valued after the Immediate Pension Point will be worth more than a pension valued before, so act quickly.
Bonallack & Bishop have signed the Armed Forces Covenant
As part of our commitment to support the Armed Forces Community, we have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant – which is a promise that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.