How to Split a Toaster, season 5 episode 11

Divorce in the Military with Attorney Paul Phipps

Seth and Pete are joined by fellow attorney at Nelson Law Group Paul Phipps, a former US Army Military Policeman, to talk about divorce in the military.

Episode Hosts: ,

Subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!

Does dealing with divorce while in the military make it more complicated? Former US Army Military Policeman Paul Phipps, also an attorney at Nelson Law Group, joins Pete and Seth in this episode to discuss about the complexities of divorce when one or both of the parties are military members.

We talk acronyms – USFSPA and SMCRA, not to mention the 20/20/20 rule. How do they affect you? What happens when both parties in the divorce are in the military, and how is that different than if it’s just one? Where do you look for your jurisdiction? What happens if you’re deployed?

There’s a lot to cover, but Paul walks us through it today. Tune in!

Episode Transcript

Pete Wright:
Welcome to How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships from TruStory FM. Today, a divorce for Sergeant Toaster.

Seth Nelson:
Welcome to show everyone. I’m Seth Nelson. And as always, I’m here with my good friend, Pete Wright. Divorce can be complicated. If you’re a service member, you want to understand how you can manage those complications while navigating your military service and the service to our country. This week on the show, we are thrilled to introduce Paul Phipps, former US Army, military policeman with deployments, taking him around the world. Pete, I’m excited about this one.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Yeah.

Seth Nelson:
Paul is an attorney right here at Nelson Law Group and we are, are proud to have him supporting and serving our clients and educating us and our listeners about the world of military divorce. Paul, welcome to the Toaster.

Paul Phipps:
Thanks Seth. You can just call me Jack Reacher if you’d like. I think it’s appropriate.

Pete Wright:
Yes. Lean in. Lean in, Paul Phipps. I’m thrilled to have you on the show for the first time. We should give you a hearty welcome to the firm and the podcast. It’s great to have you here, Paul. Thank you for joining us.

Paul Phipps:
It’s my pleasure and it’s great to be here.

Pete Wright:
We’re talking about military divorce and military divorce, we started to have conversation some time ago and realized that we were ill-equipped. We can talk about divorce all the live long day.

Seth Nelson:
See Pete, here’s what you’re already doing. And Paul was very nice, because he’s only been on the show for like two minutes. He didn’t say, that’s pretty much that everything that Seth talks about, he’s ill-equipped.

Pete Wright:
What I love the most about you Seth, is that you are not afraid to walk into your own joke.

Seth Nelson:
Yeah, or a glass door, which I’ve done before.

Pete Wright:
The thing is we’ve been ill-equipped in talking about the nuances of divorce in the military, because as a service member, there are different rules, right? So we hope that you can educate us in the nuance, in the specifics around being an active service member and getting a divorce and dealing with. We know that there are complications and emotional struggles and all of those things, but what else do you have to deal with when you’re getting a divorce? I guess I offer to you, where would you like to start? I was thinking we talk about what legal assistance is available to you as a service member, but that might not be the best place to start. What do you think?

Paul Phipps:
I’ll answer that question briefly based on what I know. But the government normally does not provide divorced lawyers via the military. We’ve all seen JAG on TV and the very salacious, exciting military legal dramas. But unless things have changed, I don’t believe that the military provides free lawyers or military enlisted lawyers to help service members with family law issues. And the reason behind that is likely that the people that are in the JAG Corps or the various military legal departments, they’re federal employee. Each state, even though it’s a military divorce, every state does have its own spin and its own take on how to handle military divorces.

Pete Wright:
I think the thing that hits me is what do you do, knowing that we don’t have the salacious JAG support for divorces. What do you do when you realize your relationship is taking a turn toward divorce and you’re deployed?

Seth Nelson:
Oh, wait, you’re too far ahead, Pete.

Pete Wright:
Am I?

Seth Nelson:
Yeah, you’re too far ahead. You’re thinking military deployment, and people think of that as being overseas. Right? But this is why I’m excited about this topic.

Pete Wright:
Reign me in,

Seth Nelson:
This is, here it goes. It literally is check your local jurisdiction because if you are stationed in MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida, but you and your wife are technically still living and voting in Kansas. What’s your jurisdiction? Where can you bring your suit? Are you a resident of Florida or are you resident of Kansas? And how does that all play in?

Paul Phipps:
That is a really important distinction. And this applies whether you’re deployed or not deployed. If you are a military member, and again, I’m going to qualify this, but this is Florida law. Every state has its own nuance to this. But as far as jurisdiction, we do have a residency requirement exception in Florida in that a service member often where their stationed, is not where their driver’s license is, it’s not where their home base is. It’s where they are for a temporary period of time. That’s by design with military being stationed. I’m not talking about deployed. I’m just talking about a duty station. So in Florida, they can choose to file if they are stationed at MacDill or rather some other military base in Florida, they can choose to file in Florida. They can choose to file where they have a permanent residence. And in the military, just being assigned somewhere does not make it your permanent residence.
So that could be their hometown. They could also file where they own property. And they could also file where they last lived together as a married couple. And the suggestion, what I would give to anybody in the military contemplating divorce is to check the different jurisdictions because based on your specific circumstance, one jurisdiction may suit your needs or benefit you more than the other. So the first thing would be figure out what your options are as far as jurisdiction, what states you can file. Then I would say, get consultations with lawyers from each state and figure out the pros and cons to having a divorce in that particular state.

Pete Wright:
All right. Well, you have officially made my head hurt and I think everybody should not get married because that’s too much work.

Seth Nelson:
See, you’re trying to put us out of business.

Paul Phipps:
That’s obviously an option, right?

Seth Nelson:
Come on. He lays out a thorough answer. He says there’s like four or five different states you can talk to. You’re about to go through a divorce. You’re protecting us, you’re serving our country, go talk to four or five different lawyers in different jurisdictions. That’s a perfectly good answer.

Pete Wright:
That’s a perfectly good answer. It’s totally reasonable and realistic. Is it really realistic?

Paul Phipps:
I think it’s realistic.

Pete Wright:
Is what is that what people do, you set up a whole bunch, in different states, you find a different divorce lawyer in a different state, while you’re busy serving our country?

Paul Phipps:
Well, let me qualify that. So there’s a lot options for the jurisdiction, right? But if you’re just having a simple divorce and you really have no assets, you’ve only been married for a short period of time, maybe you don’t have any children, something simple like that, maybe you don’t want to put the time and effort into contacting different attorneys to find out which jurisdiction would benefit you the most. However, the more is it at stake and divorce, listen guys, you all know, divorce is super important. And at the end of the day, when the dust settles, that divorce decree or final judgment or whatever document comes out can have a huge life changing impact on all involved. So the more that is at stake, I would suggest the more you would consider checking all your options.

Pete Wright:
This might be a can of worms that is also premature. So I stand ready to be kicked down the field a little bit. But how is this impacted when both parties are active in the military? Is it easier or more complicated?

Paul Phipps:
I think then they have to contact a lawyer in all 50 states.

Seth Nelson:
What about Guam? Do we do Guam?

Paul Phipps:
I’m only kidding. If the moon rose at 11:22 PM, maybe Guam would be involved. But it’s the same level of complexity. So the moment that one service member is involved, the various rules and regulations at a federal level are invoked. One of them is the USFSPA. And in a normal divorce, when I say normal, I don’t mean that as better or worse, but if there are no military members involved, generally when you are divorced, federal law prevents the former spouse from covering the other on insurance, right? So they generally lose their insurance benefits. The USFSPA is a federal rule, and Florida honors that, whereby under certain criteria, depending on the length of service, how long the folks were married during time of service, the divorcing non-military spouse may be eligible for continued healthcare via the military. And that’s one pretty big distinction that I think is important. Because as we all know, healthcare can cost a fortune if you have to get it after 15, 20 years and you got to do private pay.

Pete Wright:
Okay. Do you happen to know, off the dome, what the conditions are? And I only ask not as a leading question, but I started reading about the 20-20-20 rule. And does that play into what you’re talking about?

Paul Phipps:
Yeah. The 20-20-20 rule is exactly I’m referencing. And I have just been a little bit aloof in avoiding giving any specifics because I’ve not checked the statute today. And as we all know, things change frequently. And I am not up on federal law. But generally, 20 year marriage, 20 years of service. During the marriage, it qualifies the non-military spouse for base benefits would be the PX or the BX being able to continue to shop on base and enjoy those discounts, the healthcare.

Seth Nelson:
I am literally counting how many acronyms that yeah Paul’s going to do because-

Pete Wright:
I’m already drunk right now.

Seth Nelson:
He was an MP. He’s at the BX.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Seth Nelson:
He mentioned earlier today that he gets his TNA on HBO. I didn’t know what that meant. Paul, I’m trying to practice law here.

Paul Phipps:
The military’s chalk full of acronym, so you better get used to it if you want to talk about this.

Pete Wright:
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 10% of children live with a parent with an alcohol use disorder.

Seth Nelson:
This is an alarming statistic, as a family law professional who deals with custody cases regularly.

Pete Wright:
Finding the balance between the child’s safety and helping the child maintain a relationship with both parents is one of the hardest things to navigate. Add in the he said, she said phenomenon that happens with divorcing couples who often weaponize alcohol use against one another, and the situation is even more difficult.

Seth Nelson:
All of this is why Soberlink has been one of the most important tools for my clients dealing with these issues. Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring tool has helped over 500,000 people prove their sobriety and provide peace of mind regarding the child’s safety. Soberlink helps keep the focus on the best interest of the child, which is really the most important part in a divorce case dealing with children. I’ve teamed up with Soberlink to create a parenting plan guide, to help people going through divorce that involves alcohol in children.

Pete Wright:
And you can download it today at soberlink.com/toaster. And if you take a look and you think you’re ready to order Soberlink, just mention How to Split a Toaster for $50 off their device price.

Seth Nelson:
Our thanks to Soberlink for sponsoring How to Split a Toaster.

Pete Wright:
Okay, well, so I do want to get back to our, to our question about employment, because this is a jurisdictional question. What if the jurisdiction where you are in is not in the United States?

Paul Phipps:
The jurisdiction if you’re living in Germany, for instance, and let me just qualify. I think Seth clarified this before, and I promise not to use any acronyms. There’s a difference between being deployed and being stationed somewhere. And there’s also a difference between being an active duty service member and a non-active duty service member. So let me just break those down very quickly. The active duty service member is someone who is a full-time employee of that armed service. Those are the people that generally qualify, here’s the acronym, I lied, SCRA. So the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a huge federal law. Florida has incorporated its own version of it. But to be an active duty service member, you can invoke those rights. As far as reserve, as a national guard, if they are made active duty, because it points in their career, if they’re drilling or doing something like that. In some instances, they are active duty. So the SCRA would apply.
When you talk about deployment, deployment is when someone is deployed for some type of conflict. So for instance, without giving names, I’ve had many cases where people are deployed from MacDill and they go overseas and they get orders that they have to go to a certain theater and they have to be engaged in combat operations or combat support. In that instance, in not only divorce actions, but in post-judgment, which means custody after the fact, the service member is guaranteed a 90 day stay on all proceedings. And the theory behind that, and that’s a federal law, and Florida is right on with it. So Florida’s incorporated tha.t.
The theory behind that is we’ve got men and women who are defending this country, trying to keep us safe. And it really would not be fair, or if people learned that they could get essentially screwed by protecting the country and when came back, they lost everything or a whole bunch of legal decisions were made without them, I think we’d probably lose a lot of service members because it’s not very palatable. So that protects them for 90 days. After that 90 days, you can file a motion and request additional time for a stay.

Seth Nelson:
That’s why it kind of slows you down Pete, because where you’re living or stationed, as opposed to being deployed, are much different. Right? Because you can basically say, “Look, I’m deployed, I’m defending our country. I’m in a theater of war, we’re going to just put this divorce on hold for 90 days.” Right? And guess what? Come 90 days, my orders are to stay. We’re going to ask for another 90 days.

Pete Wright:
I’ve got some friends who work for the Department of Defense and one spouse is a speech language pathologist. They are stationed in Germany and her husband is not working. If they get a divorce, like they’ve been living in Germany together as a family, working for the Department of Defense for five or six years now. Is that covered under the same set of statutes that we’ve been talking about or is that a completely separate issue?

Paul Phipps:
It’s my understanding and belief that a DOD employee is very different than a military service member. So I think they would just be an average civilian that would be living outside the continental US.

Pete Wright:
Okay. Got it.

Seth Nelson:
It’s really important when you have a deployment versus a station and also, MacDill Air Force Base is actually they have CENTCOM there, which is Central Command, and they run the part of the world called the Middle East. So these guys are busy down there. Okay? So you have a guy stationed at MacDill, Paul, and he’s deployed, already divorced. And his aunt, uncle, grandpa, parents, his parents, they all live in Tampa. And now the kid goes to mom, parents, ex-husband, ex-wife don’t get along, ex-husband is in the military, he’s deployed, he’s defending our country. And mom says, “No, I’m not going to let him see the grandparents. I’m not going to let the grandkids see the grandparents because you deployed, I never felt I got enough time with our kid anyway because we had to split him 50/50 when we got divorced. I’m keeping him 100% of the time.” Not seeing the grandparents, not seeing the relatives. That doesn’t seem fair, right, Pete?

Pete Wright:
No, it seems terrible.

Paul Phipps:
So the acronym that I gave you before, the SCRA, Florida’s version of that, it was recently changed and I should have brushed up on this. I think it was 2020 or 2021, very recent change. It used to be that the service member prior to the change could simply assign somebody to be in their stead for their time sharing. So that the theory and the reasoning behind that is who better to keep the close connection between child or children and a service member when they’re deployed than someone who’s close to the service member. Right?
So the new statute in Florida requires a little more work on the service member’s part. And I’m going to say, if you’re in the midst of a military divorce, I would highly suggest that you talk to your lawyer or whoever’s helping you, and try to incorporate something in the agreement, as far as assigning your time sharing slash custom city rights in the event that you’re deployed. Because the way the statute sits now, you’re going to have to file a motion. You have to file an affidavit and support. There’s a whole bunch of hoops to jump through. And if you have that lockdown already at the end of the dissolution of marriage, it makes things go much, much more smoothly.

Seth Nelson:
And the other thing on that, Pete, just to clarify. And usually, you’re ganging up on me, Pete, with the other guest that is a lawyer. We got two lawyers versus you today.

Paul Phipps:
Yeah, I know. I’m not comfortable with it. [crosstalk 00:18:38]

Seth Nelson:
Yeah, I understand. Is that if you put something in your agreement, your marital settlement agreement dealing with finances or your parenting plan dealing with the kids, that can lock it down and you don’t have to worry about the change in the law.

Pete Wright:
This is one of those things where your agreement changes Florida law that you were telling me about?

Seth Nelson:
Yeah, in previous cases. So what happens is in, like for Paul’s example, is you could say, if I get deployed, then anytime that I would’ve been home is allowed to go to my grandpa or my new spouse, or if I’m remarried. You can do all these different if thens. If I’m remarried, it can be with my new spouse because she’s going to make sure that grandpa gets it or can go with grandpa or can go with my aunts or a blood relative. You can define this any way you want. Right? And then if whatever these acronym laws that Paul’s talking about, change down the road, it doesn’t matter because in your agreement, you’ve locked it down.

Paul Phipps:
And one thing to add to that, Seth, the SCRA, that’s a right for the service member. So the SCRA doesn’t protect the non-military spouse. So what Seth’s saying is right. If everybody agrees to something, these acts and all these acronyms are designed to protect the service member and therefore the service member to invoke. So it’s never going to run a foul with that because the SCRA is pro service member.

Pete Wright:
Okay.

Seth Nelson:
See, it’s a little different than what we’re normally talking about. Right? One, you’re a federal employee. Two, you might be stationed in a different place. Three, you might be deployed in a theater of war. And that’s a whole, just other layers of this onion.

Paul Phipps:
And one other quick side note. I know we do divorce at this firm and we specialize in family law matters. But if anyone is listening to this, the SCRA has a wide net. If you’re fishing, this is a giant net. So loans, financial obligations, residences, evictions. So I would encourage anybody that’s in the military, that’s facing any type of legal issue to contact, either JAG or a local attorney and find out what SCRA protections they may have available to them.

Pete Wright:
I feel like I’m going to represent the non-military party here. Everything that we’re talking about, in favor of protecting and in favor of support of the service member, what does that do for the non-military service member? It starts to feel a little bit like the balance of support is a little bit out of whack. You just risk being left in the wind. Say you are living abroad, what is there to help protect you in the case of a divorce and you’re not a member of the military, and you’re a young family, and maybe you haven’t been married for 20 years and fall outside of the USFSPA 20-20-20 rule?

Seth Nelson:
That just rolled right off your tongue, brother. I love it.

Pete Wright:
I did pretty good. Right? Pretty good.

Paul Phipps:
Wildly impressive. That was wildly impressive.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Okay. My question stands.

Seth Nelson:
I appreciate the question and you really have dived into an area of inquiry that is the problem with divorce that we spoke about with Michael Lundy is you’re in an adversarial system, right? So then you try to even the playing field. All these rules that protect the service members, they feel like, well, wow, they benefit them, they benefit them, they benefit them. But what I think they actually do is protect the process, right? The non-military spouse and, Paul will always correct me if I’m wrong, he does it daily. When they say, “Well, I really want to get divorced quickly and my guy’s been deployed for a year, and this has been delaying that deployment,” well, okay. I get it. But in the meantime, you’ve had the children the entire year.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Seth Nelson:
Right. You’re not fighting over the kids or all the other craziness that Paul and I see on an every day, where, he was supposed to drop him off and he didn’t, or you’ve been living in the house, it’s been getting paid. And here’s the kicker Pete, and this is the, what I’m going to call is the equalizer. Paul, what happens when a spouse of a military member calls up their military member’s superior officer and says he moved out three weeks ago and he’s not paying the rent or any child support?

Paul Phipps:
Yes. So the military has its own body of laws called the UCMJ, Uniform Code of Military Justice. I know that because I’m Jack Reacher, and those are the rules that I enforce and move around by. But they are very, very in tune with supporting family members. And if a non-military spouse calls the command of a military spouse and reports any type of unethical behavior, or putting that non-military spouse in a bad situation to try to punish them or wield financial authority over them, the military itself will correct that.
And being a former member of the military, I was a federal employee, but you literally lose all your rights as a military member. There’s a high level of irony that as a military member, you’re defending the country and you’re defending freedom. But you literally lose all your rights. On any given day, someone could just pick me up by the scruff of my neck and say, you’re going to Iraq. You’re going to Beirut. You’re going here. And I have no say in it. They’re going to inject me with 15 different vaccines, I have no say in it. So the military members literally are under a much, I think they’d much rather be sued by a lawyer than have their command come down on them and start invoking the UCMJ and Article 15 and all that.

Pete Wright:
It’s so threatening to me, Seth, when someone like Paul says the military will correct that. That is a threatening statement delivered threateningly.

Seth Nelson:
Yeah. Yeah. But it’s not just a threat.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. Right, right.

Seth Nelson:
Us civilian guys, we’re like, wow, that’s a big threat. For the military guys, that’s what’s going to happen.

Pete Wright:
That’s what’s going to happen. Yeah.

Seth Nelson:
It’s not even a threat. When I went by Paul’s office today and he was sitting down, because if he’s standing up, I cannot reach the top of his shirt. But when he was sitting down, I grabbed him by the back and I said, dude get me lunch. That didn’t work.

Pete Wright:
That didn’t work.

Seth Nelson:
And I even was like, put it on the firm credit card. Didn’t work.

Pete Wright:
Didn’t work.

Seth Nelson:
No.

Paul Phipps:
Let me give you a very, very succinct example of that. So this is going to sound so foreign to people that have never been in the military. But if you do something in the military wrong in the military, they can literally dock your pay, and just take pay away from you. That’s it. It’s a rule, they’re allowed to do it. There’s no dispute process. That’s it. If you did it wrong, it’s called Article 15. One of their options is to dock your pay a certain amount. And that’s something that we just don’t see here in the United States. Otherwise, Seth wouldn’t be paying me anything. He’d be docking my pay weekly for all the things I mess up.

Pete Wright:
For all the lunches you don’t get.

Seth Nelson:
Well, it’s not that he didn’t get it. I appreciate that. But when he gets the lunch wrong, I mean, come on Pete, come on Paul.

Pete Wright:
The line must be drawn here.

Paul Phipps:
But the other thing, you’re talking about the non-military spouse and feeling that it’s lopsided. You talked about the 20-20-20, right? A military spouse is protected by the military and by DFAS, there’s another acronym for you Seth, the Department of Defense, Accounting and Spending, I think. And they require that the spouse can continue to get health insurance. They can continue to receive those benefits. And I’m here to tell you guys, the military is not a super high paying job. People that stay in, usually do it because there are really exceptional benefits. So the government has really put their money where their mouth is. And they’re saying, “Hey, if you’re a spouse and you’re committed to this, and you’re a military spouse for all these years, we’re going to treat you right. We’re going to give you stuff that you can’t get, cannot get, as a civilian.”

Pete Wright:
That’s fascinating.

Seth Nelson:
Well argued, well argued.

Pete Wright:
Well done. Yes. Okay. So any other complicated issues around separating property, the stuff that accumulates in the marriage? Anything that’s unique or different in a military divorce?

Seth Nelson:
I’m going to jump in here if I may, Paul, because we’re going to represent two sides of this. Military member, married over 10 years, maybe much longer, and they’ve been getting their pension and they just want to hold onto that. And I represent the non-military spouse. And I get to tell my non-military spouse, “You are entitled to half that pension.” What is the military member think about that, Paul?

Paul Phipps:
The military members are usually not super happy about that. They’ve put the time in and they’ve risked their lives arguably, or have been willing to risk their lives. So I think it really depends on the person. But that’s not really a benefit of being a service member. It definitely benefits the non-military spouse. Some people want to say, I think my or my husband deserves it depending on who’s the military service member. But some don’t and the reasoning behind it guys, is if someone is in the military and they have either a wife or a husband that has been a non-military spouse for 20 years, they have essentially allowed that person, and just like alimony somewhat, they’ve allowed them to progress through their career, to maintain the household. Because even if you’re not deployed to a combat zone, military personnel are routinely and frequently shuffled around for, here’s an acronym TDY, temporary duty. Go here for three weeks, go there for four weeks.
So if you have a spouse, they’re putting in the time. And quite frankly, it’s next to impossible for a military spouse to have a career because very few people in the military stay at the same location for a long period of time. And I define long period as more than four years.

Pete Wright:
Their job is moving. In some cases, moving the family, moving everything.

Seth Nelson:
And we all know how much fun that is.

Pete Wright:
It’s a delight. Are you being sarcastic? Okay. I feel like I’ve learned a lot. What do you think, as the vessel of ignorance, what am I missing in my understanding, given our conversation today that people should know going into a divorce situation in the military?

Paul Phipps:
I think every divorce is unique, every family is unique and every situation is unique. But I think the overarching thing all service members should know is that there are resources available to you, especially if you are being deployed. The system is not set up in a way where one person can just be hoodwinked, for lack of a better term, when they’re gone. And someone can say, “Oh, we tried to serve him, service by publication,” which is a method of serving someone by saying we can’t locate them. If you’re in the military, that can’t happen. They’re not allowed to do that. So if you’re in the military, if you’re going to get divorced, you’ve got to seek consult. Start with your JAG office or your local military office. I’m on one of the Hillsborough County military affairs committees. And I know the people at JAG actually have a list of local lawyers to give to the service members.
So information is power. And your job as a service member is to serve the country and do what your specialty is. And reach out to JAG, find out who you can talk to. Find out about the SCRA. Find out about how this is going to impact your pension. Find out about child custody and the future ramifications of entering into marital settlement agreement, because you use the word ignorance. But if a service member is not aware of that and they have an attorney that’s not aware of that, they may enter into something that’s going to not be so good for them down the road.

Seth Nelson:
The other thing on that same thing, Pete, when you talk about like, what should the service member know is I have never had a judge do anything but bend over backwards to make those processes and the judicial system fair. And with Zoom, which we’ve all been doing now, before that we frequently would do phone hearings and have different ways to confirm that the military member who’s in South Korea is the person that they say they are. There’s all these steps. Now with Zoom, it’s gotten a lot easy. Show your military ID, they can look at it right there on Zoom. But they will bend over backwards to make sure that you get your day in court appropriately, and that is good for everybody. That’s good for the non-military spouse, that’s good for the military spouse, that’s good for our judicial system. And sometimes it’s just good because they’re settling their case. And I’ve had judges that are very classy say to them, “Thank you for your service,” which you’ve all heard before and then look to the non-military spouse and say the same thing.

Pete Wright:
That is classy. Yeah. I learned a ton today. Thank you so much, Paul. It sounds like lesson number one is make sure you’re asking your attorney, do you understand the USFSPS and the SCRA? Do you understand those two things? And if they don’t, call more lawyers. There are a lot of lawyers. You’ll have to call them in every state so better get started.

Paul Phipps:
Everything in the military goes through the chain of command. So everybody has a boss in the military, ask your boss. If they don’t know, they’ll ask their boss. It’ll get all the way up there because the military does like to take care of their own and they want to give them the resources, access point to make the process fair. They’re not looking for a leg up, but things need to be fair and service members are on a unique employment and a unique situation.

Pete Wright:
So appreciate your wisdom today. Paul, thank you so much for hanging out with us.

Paul Phipps:
It’s my pleasure.

Seth Nelson:
And Pete, I got to thank you because I thought for sure, you’re going to say, “All right, Paul, you’re on the inside, man. What is Seth messing up on a daily basis?” And you just let that slide the whole show.

Pete Wright:
I feel like I don’t even need to ask.

Paul Phipps:
That’s the next podcast.

Pete Wright:
Thank you everybody for downloading and listening.

Seth Nelson:
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Did you see what Paul said? The next podcast.

Pete Wright:
He’s already ready.

Seth Nelson:
We need a whole show on this.

Paul Phipps:
After you grabbed me by the scruff of my shirt and tried to get me to get, like demanded lunch, I’m going to spill all the beans.

Pete Wright:
There will be podcast. Thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate you. Remember to drop us some questions. We’ve got a link on the website. You can fill in your form. We would love to take your divorce questions. Please send us your divorce questions and I’ll throw them right at Seth. I will throw them at Seth and maybe I’ll even throw them at Paul. We’re going to do a round robin Q&A. If you send us the questions, we will answer them.

Paul Phipps:
I like it.

Seth Nelson:
And we’ll answer non divorce questions too. We might not get them right, but we’ll answer them.

Pete Wright:
On behalf of Paul Phipps and Seth Nelson, oh dear, America’s other favorite divorce attorney, I’m Pete Wright, we’ll catch you next week right back here on How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships.

End Narration:
Seth Nelson is an attorney with Nelson Koster Family Law and Mediation with offices in Tampa, Florida. While we may be discussing family law topics, How to Split a Toaster is not intended to nor is it providing legal advice. Every situation is different. If you have specific questions regarding your situation, please seek your own legal counsel with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. Pete Wright is not an attorney or employee of Nelson Koster. Seth Nelson is licensed to practice law in Florida.

Seth Nelson is a Tampa based family lawyer known for devising creative solutions to difficult problems. In How to Split a Toaster, Nelson and co-host Pete Wright take on the challenge of divorce with a central objective — saving your most important relationships with your family, your former spouse, and yourself.