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What You Should Know About Military Divorce

What You Should Know About Military Divorce

If you or your spouse is serving in the U.S. military, it’s important to know that the divorce process is a little different than it is for civilians. There are specific rules on matters such as the division of military pensions, residency requirements and legal protections.

The following is important information about the military divorce process:

  • Residency and filing requirements: The filing requirements can be more lenient for military members. Many states allow military personnel or their spouses to file for divorce in the state in which the military member is stationed, even if neither spouse is a legal resident of that state. Married couples may also file in the state in which the filing spouse resides or the state in which the military member is a legal resident.
  • State law applies to the divorce: State laws apply to the divorce and dictate child custody, property distribution, visitation, child support and other issues. So an individual filing for divorce may find it to be in his or her best interest to choose the state that provides the most favorable potential outcome.
  • Military pensions: The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) allows state courts to treat disposable retired service member pay as either solely the property of the military member or as joint property of the member and his/her spouse. Military pensions are significant assets in divorces. State law determines exactly how that retired pay gets distributed, with up to 50 percent of the military member’s pension going to the spouse.
  • Other benefits: Under the USFSPA, military spouses may receive full medical, exchange and commissary privileges if the marriage lasted at least 20 years, if the military member served for at least 20 years of service creditable for a pension, and if there is at least a 20-year overlap of that service and the marriage. The spouse loses eligibility for such benefits upon remarriage but regains them if the subsequent marriage ends in a divorce.

If you have further questions about getting a divorce when you’re in the military, meet with a skilled family law attorney in Dayton, Ohio at Fox & Associates Co., LPA.

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