Military couples are like any other couple. They fall in love, get married, and may end up falling out of love or ending their relationship in divorce. The divorce proceedings when one person is in the military, however, have some fundamental differences than those between two civilian spouses. It’s important to understand these differences, especially if you and/or your spouse are currently serving in the Military.
Potential for a longer wait
Normally, in a civilian divorce, if one spouse waits longer than a few months after filing for a divorce and hears no return response, the filing spouse may be granted a default proceeding in the process. However, if there is a military spouse involved, there may be extenuating circumstances where they may not be in the position to respond to the complaint, particularly if they are currently stationed overseas. A law passed in the 1940s, called The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects military spouses where they are able to request a delay in proceedings.
Division of benefits
It is also important to understand that military divorces require the division of pensions and retirement accounts. Congress decided, through the Uniformed Services’ Former Spouses’ Protection Act, that this the spouse serving in the military will be required to divide those two benefits (pensions and retirement) with their spouse. The only reason why this may not be the case is if you and your spouse have been married for less than ten years. It is also important to note that disability pay is not eligible for division between divorced spouses.
An experience attorney can help
Because military divorce differs in some ways from civilian divorce, it’s important to understand the nuances if you or your spouse are in the military. We have extensive experience with family law, including divorce, and would be happy to talk with you to explain how we can help. Please contact us today for your initial consultation.