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Military Divorce Attorney Overview

Lawyer Assistance for Spouses in the Armed Forces

Ending a marriage can be a complicated process for anybody, but divorce can become even more complex when one or both spouses are members of the United States military. In these cases, some additional concerns will often arise, and divorcing spouses should be sure they understand their rights and obligations.

If you are planning to get divorced, and you or your spouse are a member of the Armed Forces, it is important to work with a family law attorney who is experienced in military divorce. A skilled lawyer can ensure that you have addressed the proper legal issues and help you meet your requirements for completing your divorce.

Military Divorce Issues

During a military divorce, spouses will need to address the same legal issues as in a non-military divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. However, they may need to address some unique concerns, including:

  • Service of divorce - The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects military members from being taken to court for divorce while they are on active duty or within 60 days of the end of active duty. Divorcing spouses will need to wait until this time period has ended before beginning divorce proceedings.
  • Residency - Depending on state laws, a person must typically reside in a state for a certain period of time before they can file for divorce. This can complicate matters for military members who are stationed overseas or in a different state from their legal residence. Spouses should speak to an attorney to determine whether they should file for divorce in the state where they typically reside or where they are stationed.
  • Retirement pay/pensions - A person may be entitled to receive a portion of their spouse's military retirement benefits following divorce, depending on state laws and the decisions made during the divorce process. If the spouses were married for at least 10 years, and a spouse served 10 years of military service during the marriage, the non-military spouse is eligible to receive direct retirement payments through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).
  • Survivor's benefits - If a military member dies, payments from their pension plan will cease. However, the Survivor's Benefit Plan can replace these payments, and spouses of military members may ask to have their former spouse provide coverage for them under this plan as part of their divorce agreement.

If you or your spouse are a member of the U.S. military, it is important to work with a divorce lawyer who is experienced in the issues that military members must address and the complications that can arise during military divorce. A skilled attorney can answer your questions, protect your rights, advocate for your interests, and help you reach a positive resolution as you work to end your marriage.

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