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Parallels and contrasts between military and civilian divorce

Approaching property division in a divorce can be tedious even for amicably parting couples. When the additional wrinkle of military law is added, an attorney may be your best bet.

Specifically, several federal laws apply in a military divorce. One, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, imposes restrictions on the timing of a military divorce: divorce proceedings cannot be brought against active-duty military members in most cases. Another federal law, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, governs how military pensions are divided during a divorce.

Another practical consideration in military divorces is spousal support. Military families often have to move frequently for new assignments, and that constant flux can interfere with the non-military spouse’s ability to hold substantial employment. In that situation, a court will likely hold the service member responsible for some measure of spousal support. 

Conversely, frequent deployment or reassignment might also impact a service member’s request for child custody. A family law court often views a stable home environment to be in the best interest of the child. A more strategic approach for a service member in this situation might be seeking joint custody and/or a favorable visitation plan. 

Yet some aspects of a military divorce can be approached like its civilian counterpart. From the outset, our family law firm advises our military divorce clients to clarify the important issues and how they want to approach them. If sparing kids from additional fighting is important, an attorney can utilize settlement discussions to keep that conflict out of the courtroom and kids’ eyes. 

Source: Findlaw, “Military Divorce,” copyright 2016, Thomson Reuters