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Military divorce is handled a bit differently than civilian divorces, therefore it is important for military members and their current or former spouses to learn more about their rights and responsibilities with regards to military divorce. With high stress, long deployment terms, and other obstacles, military service can put significant strain on a marriage. Statistics show that 20 percent of active duty officers get a military divorce within two years of active deployment. Currently, approximately four percent of active duty officers are divorced. When that percentage is broken down, approximately ten percent of female officers and three percent of male officers are divorced, respectively.
When facing a military divorce it is important to know your legal rights and options. Federal law has jurisdiction over military divorce issues like military pensions and some emergency child support orders, while all other military divorce proceedings are handled in state court. In a military divorce residency requirements are a special concern as some officers own property or have residency in one state and are serving in another, or a similar stipulation. Consulting a qualified and knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you determine the state that has jurisdiction over your military divorce.
The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act provides military members special protections in divorce proceedings that are not offered to civilians. This law protects the legal interests of service people from lawsuits- including military divorce- to allow them to devote their full energy and attention to the military needs of the nation. This means that military divorce proceedings can be stayed (delayed), at the discretion of the court, during a service person's active duty and sixty days after the completion of this service. If a person on active duty is served with military divorce papers they may need to file a motion in court to delay legal proceedings, which can be done with the help of an attorney. This legal professional can also speak with you about the benefits and drawbacks of delaying military divorce proceedings and how to best protect your legal interests.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act is another important law governing military divorce proceedings. This Act outlines the retirement, healthcare, and other benefits available to the non-military spouse after a military divorce. The specific provisions of this law are important to understand in order to determine your legal rights and options in a military divorce. For example, the law extends full benefits to the non-military spouse if: the marriage lasted at least 20 years, the member served 20 creditable years in the military, and the overlap of the marriage and service was at least 20 years. If the non-member spouse remarries, however, s/he may lose these benefits rights.
There are a number of specific provisions contained within this law and others which are pertinent to military divorce proceedings. If you are involved in a military divorce, it is in your best interest to speak with a qualified attorney who has experience handling military divorce cases.
If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options in a military divorce case, please contact us to speak with an attorney in your area who has the experience necessary to protect and maximize your legal interests.
Related Military Divorce News
April 16, 2007 - Military Divorce Rates Not On The Rise
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