When military personnel get divorced, the process is similar to most any other divorce except for a few additional details that are best handled by divorce lawyers.

If you or your spouse are on active duty in any branch of the service, it would be in your best interest to work with divorce attorneys who are familiar with active duty military divorces to handle the process.

Family law attorneys can provide the guidance necessary to appropriately separate your estate and legally complete the divorce. Here are some important aspects to consider with a miliary divorce.

Where to File

Military couples can file papers with divorce lawyers in a state where either spouse has legal residence. If both spouses reside in the same state, the spouse initiating the divorce should file the papers. Attorneys who help military members handle a divorce warn a couple to be aware that the division of military pensions is handled differently in many states.

If there is an option of where to file, you may want to research how pensions are handled in each state first and then choose the state where it is more beneficial to file.

Delaying the Process

Based on the rules within the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), any service member who is actively deployed at the time they are served with divorce papers can delay proceedings by having family law attorneys request a stay from the court.

When military duties prevent the service member from actively participating in proceedings, they can be initially granted a stay of 90 days or possibly longer in certain circumstances.

Dividing the Assets

The most complicated part of a military divorce and what usually requires the greatest amount of assistance from divorce lawyers is the division of the marital assets, specifically military retirement and pension benefits. 

  • Military Pension - Dividing military pensions can be complicated and requires the guidance of experienced divorce attorneys. Pensions are divided based on years of marriage, years of military service, and a minimum overlap of 10 years of marriage within a minimum of 10 years of active service. There are also other requirements and variables to be met by a service member’s spouse to receive pension benefits. In some cases, medical benefits may apply.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) - If the service member has purchased survivor’s benefit coverage, this may provide additional benefits to either a surviving spouse or an ex-spouse who is named as a beneficiary.
  • Thrift Savings Plan - If a military member participated in a military thrift savings plan, this is considered retirement income and is subject to division.

Child Custody and Child Support

Child custody and support concerns in a military divorce are generally handled in the state where papers are filed by family law attorneys according to that state’s family laws. There are additional rules that apply to military ex-spouses and children so that all parties abide by custody and support orders.

Generally speaking, divorce lawyers find that active duty military divorces are basically the same as any other termination of marriage. The biggest difference lies in the division of military retirement accounts, which must be carefully calculated by divorce attorneys according to specific laws. For this reason, it is highly recommended that if you are an active military member seeking a divorce, you work with experienced family law attorneys who can help you through the process!

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Brownsville TX 78520
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(956) 202-0067