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What unique challenges could you face during a military divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process for anyone, but those in the military face unique hurdles. Understanding these specific issues is crucial for service members and their spouses to manage their expectations and legal proceedings effectively.

Property division can involve military benefits.

One key issue in military divorces is how it impacts military benefits like health care, housing allowances, and pension plans. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) lets state courts split military retired pay as property during a divorce. How the court divides these benefits can depend on how long the marriage lasted and if it overlapped with military service.

Military service can complicate residency.

In divorce, couples might file in the state where either spouse has established their legal residence. However, military families often move around. This can make it tricky to meet residency requirements for filing for divorce. In addition, a servicemember’s residence may not be the same as their Home of Record. It can help to have a family law attorney who is familiar with military divorce help you determine where you should file for divorce.

A stay could delay a divorce.

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives protections to active-duty military personnel. One aspect of the SCRA is that it allows servicemembers to delay or pause certain legal duties so they can focus fully on their work in the military.

In terms of divorce, the SCRA allows an active-duty service member to ask for a “stay” or delay in the proceedings. This can temporarily stop the divorce process.

Deployment can interrupt custody arrangements.

Child custody in military divorces can be complex because of the possibility of deployment. Courts need to consider what is best for the child while also acknowledging the demands of military service. This might mean making flexible parenting plans or custody agreements that can adjust to the military parent’s deployment schedule.

It is essential for servicemembers and their spouses to be prepared for these unique challenges in the divorce process. With the right information and guidance, servicemembers and their spouses can address these challenges and make decisions that reflect their needs and wishes.