I just wanted to talk to you about this area called military divorce. Now, people hear that, some attorneys run from it, some run to it, because they have little or no experience dealing with the military and those attorneys say “I want nothing to do with that I'm going to go refer this case to an attorney that has some military experience”. I'm one of those attorneys. I have military experience, I have over 24 years in the military, retired as well as a JAG in the Air Force so do I have some ties and affiliation? Absolutely. Actually my dad served as well and my brother served too. So military divorce is something that I'm not going to run away from.
In New Mexico, do they treat military divorces differently than a regular, I guess, civilian divorce? My answer to that is no, the same rights apply to service members as they do non-service members if they decide to file a case in New Mexico. So there's no distinction between a regular divorce because in New Mexico the community property laws apply.
What's kind of unique to military divorce is there's this area of benefits that a spouse, a non-military member spouse, is entitled to after divorce depending on how long the spouse was married to a service member. Different time periods for different types of benefits that are available. For example, in being able to shop at the Base Exchange or the Post Exchange after divorce, there are certain criteria to have to be met for the overlap period of divorce and whether or not you get any access to the base. As well as what about access for your dependents to the base for recreational purposes or to shop at the commissary? There are some different and new rules that apply for military divorce to make sure that not only are the dependents protected, that you as well can help the dependents access those services on base.
Then there is this idea of military retirement and how that's divided and also disability pay, military disability pay, and there are some things that you have to be aware of that are unique to military divorce, but otherwise, the process is the same for getting a divorce granted. It's no different in New Mexico for a military person or non-military person but there are some tricks and nuances that you have to understand so that as a divorced spouse from a military member, and if you have children, that your benefits, to the extent that they lawfully can remain intact, do.