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What should I know about a military divorce?

Any divorcing couple may have a variety of different questions about the divorce process and what to expect, however, couples in the military that have made the decision to divorce may have additional questions specific to military concerns and their impact on a military divorce. Military divorces involve many of the same issues as a civilian divorce, however, a military divorce can also include a few unique issues that have to be addressed.

While the divorce process between a military divorce and a civilian divorce is similar, special rules apply to military divorces that divorcing military spouses should be familiar with. Differences can concern compliance, service of process, residency and filing requirements and division of military pensions. Both federal and state laws play a role in military divorce. Federal law can impact what court the couple divorces in and how a military pension is divided while state laws can impact divorce-related concerns such as property division and spousal support.

In addition, it is important to keep in mind that a legal action, such as a divorce, cannot be brought against active duty military members until 60 days after completion of their active duty service which protects service members from being distracted by a legal action while serving the country. Because of the nature of military service, jurisdiction for a court to hear a divorce case may be where the service member legally resides rather than where the military member lives which is the case in civilian divorces. The laws of the state where the divorce is filed are controlling so it is important to understand those laws, as well as the options for serving a military member with a divorce filing.

While divorcing military couples face the same issues as civilian couples when divorcing, the issues they face may be somewhat more challenging and complicated such as the division of a military pension or child custody when one parent may be an active duty service member who is deployed. Because of this, understanding the military divorce process as much as possible, and having trained guidance along the way, can be exceptionally helpful to military families going through a divorce.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Military Divorce," Accessed April 24, 2018

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