Military Divorce FAQ

Divorces that involve a spouse in the military are more complicated by their own nature. While a divorce involves property division, alimony, child support, child custody, a military divorce includes all of that, plus military mandates involving anything they are connected to. Whether you are a civilian or enlisted in the military, it is unlikely that you know everything about your upcoming divorce. I am William H. Sams, Attorney at Law, and I want to help you answer some of the most common questions about military divorces:

Can I File For Divorce While One of Us Is Deployed?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a national law that our government established to protect our military members while they are deployed for our nation. This law protects soldiers from many legal proceedings, including divorce summons. In a non-military divorce, a spouse that fails to respond to divorce documents creates an “uncontested divorce”, which means the divorce proceedings default in favor of the other spouse. When a spouse is in the military, the SCRA may allow them to postpone proceedings until they return from deployment.

What Are My Rights As A Service Member?

SCRA protects our service members’ legal rights while they are actively serving the nation. As an active service member, you have the right to file for an extension on the stay on your proceeding if you are not able to attend the proceeding because of your duty. The SCRA also protects you from your divorce automatically defaulting due to your inability to appear in court.

What Are My Rights As A Civilian?

In the eyes of the military, a divorce is a civil matter, but being a former spouse of a military member may entitle you to certain benefits. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation program may entitle you to a range of benefits including medical, commissary, or theater benefits. There is, however, a qualification known as the 20/20/20 rule that you need to meet to qualify for these benefits, which are:

  • The military spouse needed to have been serving for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce
  • You need to have been married to the military member for at least 20 years before the divorce
  • You need to have been married to the military member for the last 20 years of their retirement-eligible service

We can help you review your case and determine what benefits you are eligible for, and how you can pursue them.

Start Your Defense In A Military Divorce Today

If you are facing a divorce, no matter if you are enlisted or a civilian, I have the experience necessary to provide you with the best possible defense in your case. If you are in the Vista area, contact my office by calling me at 760-657-2257 or by emailing me here. Act today to schedule your free initial consultation with a compassionate lawyer today.