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When marriage ends for military servicemembers

While the emotional elements remain the same, unique legal issues arise when it comes divorcing spouses where one or both service in the military. From the initial filing to the final resolution, soon-to-be ex-spouses must not only face the personal challenges inherent to life-changing times, but also complexities of the laws governing military divorces.

Starting The Process Of Military Divorce

The filing itself contains elements vastly different from a civilian divorce. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), a spouse on active duty can but the divorce on hold. Prioritizing the performance of military duties stays the action for 90 days. The deadline can be extended if necessary, but the legal process must continue at some point.

The Military’s Commitment To Child Support

The military mandates that their servicemembers provide adequate support for their children and will provide appropriate financial assistance during the divorce process. Because of the specific military rules and fluctuations in pay based on deployment base transfers and other factors, state courts usually do not follow standard guidelines. However, once the assistance is finalized, judges will make support determinations based on state law.

How To Qualify For Military Pension Division

Military pension division falls under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), a federal law giving authority to the state where the servicemember resides. Eligibility for pension garnishment requires 10 years of marriage where the military spouse spent 10 years in active duty or creditable service in the Guard or reserves. Cases where the “10-10” test does not apply may lead to state courts determining division or spouses delaying a divorce until both 10-year marks are met.

Bridging The Gap Of Distance

Spouses who choose to mediate military divorce face unique challenges when the servicemember is out of state or deployed overseas. In those cases, cutting-edge video technology (Skype, Facetime, etc.) can bridge the gap.

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