Just as the job military service members do is unlike any other in the country, the laws that protect service members on active duty are also unique. If you are a service member facing divorce, you probably have a few questions about how your job duties could impact your ability to seek representation, obtain custody and protect your assets.
Luckily, your status as a military member in service to the federal government gives you some flexibility in your ability to file. Let's take a look at three things to consider to protect your right to fair representation as a service member.
1. Consider where you want to file
If you are initiating the divorce filing, you can choose the state in which you wish to proceed. Your home state of record is likely different from the state in which you serve. Therefore, you should take the time to consider the jurisdiction. Ask yourself the following three questions:
· Where do you own property?
· Where were you and your spouse married?
· Where were your kids born?
Determining the jurisdiction of your case will help guide you on specific arrangements of asset division and child custody.
2. Your duty could delay proceedings
Whether you're in garrison, in the field or on deployment, service members are required to place the mission first. This obligation could delay proceedings, but you are protected from penalties as a result. Delaying your case can ensure that you are still given a chance to represent your interests in the divorce proceedings.
Further, the potential for deployment will not affect your ability to obtain custody of your children. However, if you do deploy, you will be required to have a family care plan in place before you leave. You can arrange a family care plan with the help of a family law attorney.
3. Your spouse may be entitled to some of your pay after divorce
When considering spousal support after marriage, the military applies the 10/10 rule. This law states that if you and your spouse were married for at least 10 years and 10 years of creditable military service were performed in that time, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your pay.
Other assets such as your property and Thrift Savings Plan are also subject to division in a divorce. A family law attorney who understands your needs as a service member can help secure your right to an amicable and equitable divorce.