As a military member, you may be wondering how your divorce differs from a civilian divorce. In general, military divorces are very similar to those for civilians. However, there are a few difference and special circumstances you may need to consider before you even begin the process.
If you are a service member and considering divorce, it is important to find the right attorney to help you with the process. A lawyer in the Spokane area with military divorce experience can help you with the filing requirements and what to expect when it comes time to handle custody and property division issues.
Both federal and state laws apply to military divorces. Typically, federal laws preside over dividing your military pension and what court has jurisdiction over your divorce. State laws usually dictate other issues such as alimony.
As a service member, you are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) if your spouse decides to file for divorce while you are engaged in active duty. The SCRA dictates that your spouse cannot begin divorce proceedings while you are actively serving or during the first 60 days after you are no longer active.
Many states have a residency requirement in place for divorcing couples. In some states, you have to be a resident for six months in order to legally file for divorce. Many states will not enforce this requirement for military members. In most cases, the state you are stationed in will allow you to file for divorce even if you have not resided there for the minimum time required for civilian divorces.
Dividing your pension
The military follows the ten-year rule when it comes to determining if your spouse is entitled to receive a portion of your military pension. In order for your wife to qualify for this, your marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years. In addition, that ten years of marriage must overlap with 10 years of military service.
If spousal support and child support are part of your divorce decree, it is important to remember that the military has special rules concerning providing support for your family. Violating these rules may result in your superior officer carrying out disciplinary action.
If you are in the military and considering divorce, it is important to consider the differences between military and civilian divorce.