Tips for a Military Divorce

Divorce decree

Military divorces can be more detailed and intricate than divorces between civilians. Therefore, even if you have been through a divorce previously there may be more research necessary to educate yourself in a divorce involving a military member. Your divorce lawyer has provided some tips to consider when entering a military divorce.

Hire an Attorney with experience in Military Divorce. Although divorce attorneys have a great deal of knowledge regarding many different aspects of the law, when entering a divorce involving a military member it is important to have specific knowledge of the unique qualities pertaining to military divorces. Certain items such as child custody, or equitable division is treated differently in cases of military divorce due to the unique involvement of deployments and government retirement accounts. Further, the benefits received from a military spouse are extensive and it is important to know these benefits, the potential loss of them, and how to calculate each into a divorce settlement. This specific knowledge is usually only found in attorneys who have significant experience with military divorces. Therefore, it is important to seek counsel who knows the ins and out of the laws regarding the military spouse.

Determine the best time to file your divorce. Within a military divorce there are certain time frames that must be factored into your consideration that you may not need to think of in a civilian divorce. For example, a great deal of benefits such as health care, commissary, and exchange privileges may be maintained by a nonmilitary spouse depending on the length of the marriage, the length of military service, and the overlap of time between the marriage and military service. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule. Therefore, if you have been married for 19 years, or your military spouse has only been in for 19 years, it may be prudent to postpone divorce proceedings in order to maintain certain benefits for your future. Further, if your military spouse is deployed when you are considering on filing for divorce, your case will like be suspended under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This entitles a service member to stay the proceedings for a 90-day period if on deployment. These are important factors to consider and should be discussed with your lawyer.

Determine where to file your divorce. Only certain courts can have jurisdiction over certain spouses, children, property, and a marriage. Jurisdiction typically depends upon the physical placement of these people and items as well as the duration of the time these individuals have been in this specific location. When the military is involved, it is common that jurisdiction issues arise due to the amount of movement of a military family. However, military members are provided with certain exceptions to the general rule and are permitted to file divorce where they currently reside, where the military member is currently stationed, or where the member claims residency. However, you still must effectuate service upon your spouse to ensure the court has personal jurisdiction over them.

The purpose of this information is to provide you with thought provoking questions and prepare you for the unique qualities of a military divorce. However, each case is unique and should be discussed with an experienced attorney to determine your specific needs and provide you with more detailed and particularized tips for you.

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