If you are a military service member who is contemplating divorce, you may wonder what challenges you will face, as there are some significant differences between a civilian and a military divorce.
Some of the most important differences involve the service of process, compliance issues, filing and residency requirements and the division of military pensions. Because military divorces are governed by both federal and state laws, the process can seem quite complicated to someone with little knowledge or experience in the matter.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects service members from divorce proceedings. The SCRA prohibits suing active duty military members for divorce or from initiating the proceedings themselves when they are serving active duty or during the 60-day period immediately after completion of their active duties.
Jurisdiction also must be established, and in a military divorce, it is where the service member has legal residency. Some states permit service members and their spouses to file divorce proceedings where they are stationed. Usually they will have three options for jurisdiction:
— The state where the service member has legal residency
— The state where he or she is stationed
— The state where the service member’s spouse resides
Where the divorce is filed is very important because the divorce action will then be subject to the divorce laws of that state. This can affect everything from child custody to division of the marital assets.
If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member and you want to file for divorce, we can help you determine which jurisdiction is appropriate and will give you the best potential outcome.