The Military Components of Family Law in Albuquerque
As an Albuquerque family law specialist and the principal of the Sutherland Law Firm, LLC, Bill Sutherland says that local legal practice is colored by an area of family law that carries with it some of the heaviest burdens: Parents serving in the U.S. military. Questions related to divorce, child custody, and child support are already difficult enough for civilian couples. But when issues of military service and tours of duty are added to the mix, family law in Albuquerque sure can become complex. Nonetheless, Sutherland is able to navigate this heady legal environment.
That said, Sutherland adds that Albuquerque’s families may be affected by military service, but that issue is not peculiar to Albuquerque. All across the country, families are highly affected by military tours of duty. Of course, this phenomenon has only been more and more central to American family issues ever since the beginning of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
In general, Albuquerque family law is deeply intertwined with military parents’ tours of duty for a number of important reasons. Service members are under a significant degree of stress to begin with. Add to that multiple deployments and a child and wife or husband back at home, and the situation becomes ever more complicated. There’s the difficulty of the service-member coming home and attempting to relate to his or her spouse; there’s the difficulty of going through active combat and then, after returning, trying to serve as a compassionate and emotionally available spouse and parent. So many people just have a terrible time keeping a marriage together through all this stress and anxiety. It’s not easy for anyone.
When couples are going through a military divorce, issues of retirement are often some of the most difficult in terms of Albuquerque family law to handle for Sutherland. What has to be determined is how much the non-military spouse will receive from retirement funds that derive from the military duty. That is, the non-military spouse is entitled to some of that retirement, but how much? Then there are issues with property: Who keeps the house? Especially in a down economy, who will be stuck trying to sell the house which is worth less than its mortgage? These days, whether or not the Albuquerque family law divorce problems have to do with the military, everything is centered around money, says Sutherland. If a spouse is making child support payments and then loses their job, now what? These important questions are not endemic to Albuquerque; rather, they are national in scope. If people—civilians or military personnel—are having family law issues, more often than not it’s about children and about money.
Sutherland says that these days, spousal and child support tend to be misunderstood. And in New Mexico, there’s no statutory right to spousal support—often called alimony. Basically, people are already going through tough times. Add to that military tours of duty and a down economy, and the challenge to figure out child visitation rights, child support, spousal support, and the splitting of assets in a divorce is severely complicated. Nonetheless, a lawyer like Sutherland has to ask the hard questions to get to the bottom of the issues, so everyone can be justly served.
Albuquerque, NM 87111
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this article as a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances, and you should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Publication of this article and your receipt of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship.