Divorcing a member of the armed forces is somewhat different from your usual civilian divorce. There are unique legal issues in military divorces that you should understand to have a smooth divorce process.
Here are some things you need to be aware of in your divorce if your spouse is a service member.
The court where you file for divorce must have jurisdiction or legal authority to hear your case. Usually, states have a residential requirement for resident civilians who wish to file for divorce.
However, since military couples are often on the move, the court’s authority may extend to the service member’s current station or their legal residence. The state where you file for divorce could significantly affect its outcome, and you need to make the right choice.
Your divorce proceedings may be delayed
Service members on active duty are shielded from court proceedings that would interfere with their duties. Therefore, your divorce proceedings may grind to a halt until your spouse is available to respond.
Division of military retirement benefits
You may be entitled to a part of your spouse’s military pension. How much will depend on various factors.
Additionally, you may be eligible for other military benefits such as medical benefits if you were married for more than 20 years and your spouse has put in at least 20 years of service toward retirement. Your marriage must have also overlapped with your spouse’s service in the armed forces for more than 15 years to be eligible for the additional benefits.
Protecting your interests in a military divorce
Navigating a military divorce can be complex, especially if you do not understand how the law works. Therefore, it is necessary to get proper guidance and ensure you don’t lose out when the divorce is settled.