For couples wishing to divorce where one or both spouses are serving in the military, Utah law and federal law require some additional terms to be met. The grounds for a military divorce are identical to those for civilian divorces but unique rules protect active members of the military from being divorced without their knowledge, among other regulations.

Utah military divorce rules apply to people living in Utah or who are stationed in Utah, even if it is just one party. When any Utah couple divorces, their marital assets are divided according to state laws. However, if one or both spouses are in the military or served in the past, the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act may affect property division. The amount of military retirement benefits and their division is determined by this legislation.

Utah courts employ a standardized worksheet and schedule to calculate child support and alimony payments in civilian divorces. This still happens in military divorces, but there is a cap on payments. The amounts cannot exceed 60 percent of a service member’s income. Before someone can divorce an active service member, the service member must personally receive a summons, except when the man or woman waives this right with a signed affidavit. The divorce proceedings can be postponed while an active service member is on duty, though a service member may waive this right as well.

Getting divorced while in the military or divorcing a military spouse carries unique challenges due to deployment and additional laws regarding military divorces. An attorney can answer questions about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and explain how they apply to a client’s situation.

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