Navigating Military Life: How to Go About Getting a Divorce
Learn how having a partner in the military can impact divorce. Choose from any of the topics below.
- How to Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military in Arizona
- How is Military Divorce Different from Citizen Divorce?
- Advantages of Annulment and Legal Separation for Military Couples
- Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in a Military Family
- Speak With a Legal Paraprofessional About Military Divorce
Getting a divorce is never easy, but the process can be even more complicated when your spouse is in the military.
A Military divorce case has its own set of unique rules and challenges, and it is vital to understand them to navigate the process.
In this article, we will explore how to get a divorce when your spouse is in the military in Arizona and answer some frequently asked questions about military divorce.
How to Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military in Arizona
- Understand the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
- The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that protects military service members in civil legal proceedings. One of the protections is a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty. This means that your divorce proceedings may be delayed if your spouse is on active duty.
- File for divorce in the proper jurisdiction
- When your spouse is in the military, filing for divorce in the proper jurisdiction is essential. In Arizona, if your spouse is a resident of the state or stationed in the state, you can file for divorce in Arizona. If your spouse is not a resident or stationed in the state, you may need to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed or where they reside.
- Consider contacting a paralegal professional to advise you through the divorce process.
How Is a Military Divorce Different from Citizen Divorce?
A divorce in a military family is different from a civilian divorce in a few key ways:
- Jurisdiction: Military members and their families are often located in different states and countries due to their service, which can complicate the process of filing for divorce. In a civilian divorce, both parties must typically be residents of the state where they file, but military members can file for divorce in the state where they are stationed or reside.
- The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA): The SCRA provides specific protections for military service members in civil legal proceedings, including a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty. This can delay the divorce proceedings and may require special arrangements to serve the divorce papers.
- Division of Military Pension: Military pensions are considered marital property and are subject to division in a divorce; however, the division process can be complex, and it is essential to work with an attorney who has experience in this area to ensure that your share of the pension is calculated correctly.
- Child support and custody: The nature of military service can make child custody and support arrangements more complicated, mainly if one parent is deployed or stationed in a different location. The military provides support for military families going through a divorce, including legal assistance and counseling services.
- Health care and other benefits: Divorce can affect a military member’s eligibility for certain benefits, such as health care and housing allowances. It’s important for military personnel to understand how divorce may impact these benefits and to plan accordingly.
Advantages of Annulment and Legal Separation for Military Couples
There may be advantages for a military couple to consider annulment or legal separation rather than divorce in certain situations. Some of the advantages may include the following:
- Preservation of Benefits: In some cases, annulment or legal separation may allow a military member to retain certain benefits, such as health care and housing allowances, that would be lost in a divorce.
- Avoiding a “Fault” Divorce: Annulment or legal separation may be a way for a military couple to end their marriage without having to prove fault, which can be complicated and emotionally difficult in a military divorce.
- Religious reasons: Some religious beliefs prohibit divorce; in such cases, an annulment or legal separation may be more acceptable as they allow the couple to end the marriage without going against their religious beliefs.
- Keeping a lower profile: Annulment or legal separation may not be as public as a divorce and may be a way for military couples to avoid the publicity and scrutiny that can come with a divorce.
- Maintaining insurance coverage: In some cases, annulment or legal separation may allow a military member to maintain insurance coverage for a spouse and children, which may be lost in a divorce.
It’s important to note that annulment and legal separation may not be possible or appropriate in every case, and each option’s advantages and disadvantages should be considered case-by-case basis.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in a Military Family
Does a Military Spouse Keep Benefits After Divorce?
In Arizona, the answer to whether a spouse will keep military benefits after divorce depends on several factors. Generally, if the service member and the spouse were married for at least 10 years while the service member was actively serving in the military, then the spouse may be entitled to some of those benefits. The number of benefits that may be received will depend on how long they were married and what type of benefit it is.
For example, if it is healthcare coverage or access to base housing, then there may be continued eligibility after divorce. However, if it is a retirement pension or death benefits, then those are not likely to continue for the ex-spouse.
Will a Divorce Affect a Military Pension?
A divorce can have a significant effect on a military pension. Depending on the type of pension, it can be divided between spouses as part of the divorce settlement. In this case, one spouse may receive a portion of the other’s pension, or both parties may receive equal portions.
Suppose the couple was married for 10 years or more, and at least one of them had served in active duty for at least 20 years. In that case, the former spouse is eligible to receive a portion of the other’s retirement pay under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Even if these conditions are not met, state laws may provide for the division of pensions in cases where there was an extended marriage.
Can I Get a Divorce While My Spouse is Deployed?
Yes, you can get a divorce while your spouse is deployed. However, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty, which may delay the divorce proceedings.
Can I Get Alimony If My Spouse is in the Military?
Yes, you can receive alimony if your spouse is in the military. Alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.
Speak with a Legal Paraprofessional Regarding Military Divorce
A step that can be taken if you see yourself facing challenges regarding divorce is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make major decisions concerning divorce or legal seperation.
Call us today at (480) 660-4414 to schedule your consultation.
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