Military Divorce Lawyer
The end of a marriage is always complicated. Of course, if you had a good lawyer (s), the whole experience would be less tiring. While many law firms and lawyers may have learned to handle divorce amongst civilians reasonably well because of how often civilian divorce cases come around. Things are quite different when military divorce is concerned. This blog post offers useful insights into the meaning of military divorce, the peculiarities of military divorce compared to a civilian divorce, and the all-essential need to employ a competent military divorce lawyer/attorney.
A General View of Military Divorce
Military divorce may have its unique rules and regulations, especially regarding the division of marital property (like military pensions) and custody arrangements. It does not make military divorce so very different from civilian divorce. Both forms of divorce are very similar, and there’s just a tiny yet vital chasm between them.
Military divorce attains its ‘military’ status by virtue of some additional requirements that affect members of the military in civil matters. It is never too much to state that while the difference between military divorce and civilian divorce is little, that little difference can cause you many headaches if you choose the wrong military divorce lawyer.
It is imperative to understand that a competent military divorce lawyer/attorney is essential to help you handle your divorce in line with the additional military requirements.
Military divorce refers to divorce proceedings that have at least one member of the military as a spouse. Military divorce would also be used where both spouses are current or former military members.
The Areas of Difference between Military Divorce and Civilian Divorce
Generally, every divorce’s primary focus areas are child support, spousal support, custody arrangements, and marital property division. Divorce decrees would usually answer questions like – Who gets to be the custodial parent? How much child support payment is required from the non-custodial parent? What constitutes marital property?
It is to these significant areas of military divorce that little extra requirements crop up in military divorce. Here’s a list of factors/areas that makes a divorce ‘military’ and not ‘civilian’ –
In legal parlance, jurisdiction is undoubtedly an essential element in every type of case. The power of a court to preside over a specific case is referred to as jurisdiction. For civilians, jurisdiction is not always a complicated issue because jurisdiction exists in the place of residence.
When it comes to the military, things are not so simple. Jurisdiction can either be in the place of residence of the spouse (s) or the place where the service member is stationed. A competent military divorce lawyer would not risk your interests by carelessly handling the issue of jurisdiction.
- Procedural Requirements
For civilians, there’s such a thing as ‘residency requirement’ before divorce papers get filed. For example, you must have resided in New York for at least a year before you’re eligible to file divorce papers.
On the other hand, service members depending on the state’s laws where they are based can file for divorce even when they do not meet the residency requirements.
Additionally, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides several options available to service members during civil proceedings. For example, at the court’s instance, service members may delay any civil proceedings while they are on active duty or within ninety days of their release from active duty.
- Retirement benefits
This is perhaps the most critical marker that exemplifies the slightly different nature of military divorce. The division of assets always sparks up the never-ending debate about what should be left alone and what should be divided amongst the spouses.
Civilian retirement benefits may come under the purview of marital property and, therefore, subject to distribution (property can be divided equally or equitably depending on state laws). In the same vein, military pensions and retirement benefits can be divided between spouses subject to specific eligibility requirements.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) is the go-to law when military pension division matters are concerned. For example, under the USFSPA, a former spouse is eligible for a share in retirement benefits if the marriage has existed for ten years, and the marriage has overlapped with military service of the same number of years.
This short post can only cover a small number of issues relating to military divorce. The best way to get advice unique to you and your interests is by employing competent military divorce lawyers. There’s a good chance that an excellent military divorce attorney will use the relevant laws to protect your interests.
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