How do military divorces differ from civilian divorces?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2013, an estimated 2.7 million people were serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, 1.4 million of which were designated as active duty service members. For the men and women who pledge to protect our country and put their very lives at risk, there are often many personal sacrifices.
Frequent moves, lengthy deployments and difficulties associated with events that may occur during a deployment are just a few of the significant challenges with which military personnel must cope. In cases where a service member is married and has children, it is often exceedingly difficult for both a service member and his or her family to find a way to deal with and overcome these challenges.
In cases where a service member or his or her spouse decides to file for divorce, it’s important to understand how a military divorce differs from a civilian divorce. For example, because military families are often forced to move frequently, it’s important to understand the possible implications of filing for divorce in one state versus another.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act dictates that “the state where the military member resides always has the power to divide the military pension in a divorce.” This means that a spouse who files for divorce in a state that is not the service member’s permanent residence may be in jeopardy of losing out on a portion of a spouse’s military pension.
Additionally, in some cases, a service member can take action to halt or delay divorce proceedings. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides legal protections to service members who are on active duty to request a stay in divorce proceedings. For the civilian spouse, the granting of a stay in a divorce can be frustrating and can further complicate matters related to marital assets and child custody.
In our next blog post, we’ll continue to discuss some of the other divorce-related issues that are unique to military divorces.
Source: Stateside Legal, “Divorce In Military Families – How It’s Different & What You Need To Know,” Jan. 5, 2016