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The unique needs of firefighters during divorce

by | Feb 20, 2018 | blog, Firm News |

Firefighters are some of the most popular public service employees in government. Children dream of putting on firefighting outfits and becoming professional heroes when they grow up. Singles dream of making a firefighter their husband or wife.

Just because firefighters are much-loved, however, does not mean that their marriages never end in divorce. Moreover, when a firefighter divorces, he or she will face some special challenges. For example, will a firefighter’s odd working hours interfere with his or her ability to secure shared child custody? Also, will the firefighter’s ex get to take a large portion of his or her pension?

Firefighters and child custody

Most firefighters have unique schedules that involve working for multiple 24-hour shifts that involve living away from home at the fire station. However, Delaware courts know that traditional child custody and parenting plan arrangements don’t fit every situation. A family court judge will usually support creative and non-traditional child custody solutions to fit the firefighter’s schedule. Just because the firefighter has an odd working schedule does not mean that a 50-50 child custody plan will be impossible.

Splitting a firefighter’s pension during divorce

One of the best payoffs — for firefighters who survive their extremely risky careers — is the pension they’ll receive when they retire. As with all professional pensions, however, when the firefighter divorces, his or her spouse may be able to take part of it. The ability of an ex-spouse to receive a portion of a firefighter pension during divorce will depend on several factors, and firefighters may have the ability to assert legal arguments to keep as much of their pensions as possible.

Here are a few things that could affect how much of a firefighter’s pension the ex-spouse can keep:

  • How many years of the firefighter’s career corresponded with years of being married?
  • How long were the couple married?
  • What is the joint and individual debt and asset situations of both spouses?
  • What are the respective incomes of the spouses?
  • In what way did both spouses contribute financially to the marriage?

Are you ready to navigate your divorce successfully?

The more you know about your legal rights and options under Delaware divorce statutes, the better capable you’ll be of protecting your asset division and child custody rights as a firefighter. Ultimately, you should not view being a firefighter as a disadvantage. Rather, your situation merely requires a custom-tailored approach to ensure that your divorce proceeds fairly and appropriately.