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Are Military Divorces More Complicated?

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While every divorce deals with similar factors like the division of property, child custody, alimony, and other decisions, military divorces tend to be more complicated than divorces between two civilians. The complexity arises when you consider the different nature of a military family that may move around a lot or have financial assets tied up in various military accounts. For more information continue reading and contact a skilled Union County divorce attorney for representation and advice.

Where Should I File for a Divorce?

A surprisingly complex issue is where a petitioner should actually file for divorce. You must file for divorce in the state where you are a legal resident and meet the requirements for residency. However, when you are in the military your legal residence can change often or be confusing to understand. You and your spouse may not have the same legal residency. The state where you file can directly affect the outcome of property and asset distribution, child custody, child support, alimony, and other factors.

Residency may not be as straightforward for a military couple as a civilian couple, but generally, they can file for divorce where the filing spouse is a legal resident, the state where the military member claims residency, or in the U.S. state where the military member is stationed.

When Does the Military Spouse Have to Respond By?

In a civilian divorce where one spouse files and petitions the state for a divorce, the other spouse has to respond within a specific time frame, usually 20 to 35 days depending on what state you are in. However, if the other spouse is a service member, it may change the timeline.

The SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) includes a federal law that allows active duty military members to request a stay which postpones and delays divorce proceedings. An initial stay will be for at least 90 days but can be extended depending on the circumstances.

Does a Non-Military Spouse Get Benefits After a Divorce?

The division of assets can be complicated when one or both spouses are in the military. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) dictates military retirement pay and limits the amount that the nonmilitary spouse can receive to 50%. If the couple was married for 10 years or longer while the service member was in the military for 10 years or longer, the DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) will make payments to the former spouse from the service member’s retirement income.

If the marriage lasted 20 years during which the military spouse served for 20 years, the former spouse may be eligible to continue receiving the full extent of health care coverage, commissary and exchange privileges, housing benefits, and more.

Who Gets Child Custody in Military Divorces?

During divorce cases, courts generally strive to keep the child’s best interest in mind while ensuring that they are able to maintain relationships with both of their parents. How does that work, though, when one parent may be deployed or relocated to another state? It can be difficult to navigate, but generally, the nonmilitary spouse was likely the primary caretaker before the divorce and they will continue to be after. Visitation schedules may be complex and have to account for phone and video calls.

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Mediation Services

Our firm believes that exploring alternatives to litigation can greatly benefit our client. Our firm’s established mediation practice can help you resolve family law issues more efficiently, amicably and at a lower cost. If you are interested in knowing more about our mediation services, contact the firm to discuss your situation.

“This firm and it's team are the best out there, hands down. Robyn Ross helped me through a difficult time. Something that should have been...”

– Nestor –

“Robyn navigated me through a difficult period and explained every piece of the process in great detail along the way. I know in the end...”

– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

– Abdul –

“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –

“This firm and it's team are the best out there, hands down. Robyn Ross helped me through a difficult time. Something that should have been...”

– Nestor –

“Robyn navigated me through a difficult period and explained every piece of the process in great detail along the way. I know in the end...”

– Clarissa –

“Robyn Ross handled my two cases and won both, her passion and expertise was beyond a 5-star rating. She communicated with me through both cases...”

– Abdul –

“Liz represented me throughout a long and difficult divorce process. She was a godsend. Her knowledge, compassion, dedication, and commitment are unparalleled. I can not...”

– Peter –

“The hardest part of going through a divorce or separation is the children. I’m so thankful that I had this firm represent my case. Ross...”

– Paula –

“This is a great counsel team. Very knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. They also make you feel like you are their only client, very attentive!”

– Bettyna J. –

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