Military divorce is different than the divorce process for civilians. In general, all divorce cases are under the jurisdiction of state law; however, there are some federal laws that supersede state law in the case of the military. Here are a few of the major differences to be considered in a military divorce.
Military members may be able to postpone their divorce proceedings
Soldiers on active duty, and especially soldiers that are deployed overseas are expected to concentrate primarily on their military duties. As such, Uncle Sam allows military parents who are overseas to postpone the entire divorce proceeding until he or she returns to the homeland under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Upon return, the military member has up to 90 additional days to respond to the divorce proceeding. The service member has the additional option of retaining counsel and continuing with the proceeding without having to show up to court once.
If a service member does not have a lawyer to argue for a location in which he or she is not physically stationed, he or she may be forced to show up to court or rush proceedings while still on duty.
Location matters when filing for divorce
In the world of civilians, the location that the divorce is considered is simple: the place of residence. Because of the mobile nature of military service, military divorce participants have more options.
Divorce can take place in the municipality of the service member, the state of the non-military member (if there is one) or the state in which the service member is currently performing military duties. Because divorce laws between states differ substantially, location is contentious. Having a lawyer is essential for best results.
The location that is finally chosen will determine many issues including custody of any children, child and spousal support, division of property and how debt will be assessed.
The military divorce process is complex. Learning about this process can help you understand your options to help you prepare for your divorce.
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