Divorce can be challenging any way you look at it, with several confusing legal matters and emotional issues that need to be dealt with. If you are a service member or military spouse seeking a divorce, it’s essential to understand that military divorce comes with special considerations. At Simonetti & Associates, our divorce lawyer in Suffolk County is here to help ease some of the time, stress, and cost of a divorce by helping you understand this process. Continue reading to discover the divorce process for military couples.
Divorce Process for Military Couples
While military divorces are not more complicated than civilian divorces, there are a few key differences to understand. These considerations can be related to matters of filing or residency requirements, service of process, division of military pensions, and compliance with support payments. Both federal and state laws govern military divorce. Federal laws can determine where couples end up in court or how the military pensions are divided. State laws can affect how spousal support may be issued. The state laws that apply to a divorce depend on where the divorce is filed. In civilian divorces, jurisdiction is determined by where the couple lives. However, for military personnel, jurisdiction may be the place where the person holds legal residence even if they are stationed elsewhere. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is in place to protect the legal rights of service members on active duty. Usually, when one spouse serves divorce papers, the other must respond within a specific timeframe. However, under the SCRA:
- Administrative or civil court proceedings can be extended if the active service member shows that they cannot attend for duty reasons.
- Service members are protected in situations from default judgments for failure to respond to a lawsuit or appear in court.
Military Benefits and Pensions
Like retirement benefits, military pensions and benefits are subject to division in the event of divorce. There are laws in place for dividing military benefits, but the amount is typically determined under state-specific laws. In addition to pension, spouses of former military personnel are eligible for full commissary, medical, and exchange privileges after a divorce when:
- They were married for more than 20 years.
- There was a 15-year overlap between military service and marriage.
- The military spouse performed 20 years of creditable service.
The military also has rules concerning child support and alimony designed to ensure a family’s support obligations beyond divorce. While much of the military divorce process is similar to that of a civilian divorce, having an experienced divorce lawyer in Suffolk County on your side can help streamline the process.
Contact Our Divorce Lawyer in Suffolk County
Since a military divorce requires specialized knowledge of laws that don’t apply to civilian divorces, it’s imperative to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in Suffolk County. At Simonetti & Associates, our team is familiar with military divorce cases and can help you understand your rights and the different laws that may apply to your situation. Be sure to contact us today to request a free consultation.