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Military Divorce Lawyer

Divorce in military families – How its different & what you need to know

When a military family goes through a divorce, unique issues come up.  Understanding the complex issues in a military divorce will lead to better decisions and fairer outcomes.

Legally, military personnel who are getting divorced are no different than anyone else, so the procedural process is the same. If you are in the military or a military spouse, there are some additional factors that can affect your divorce.

If you are a member of the military or a spouse of a military member and are considering filing for divorce, however, you can readily obtain more information about your best options for proceeding with a military divorce by contacting the trusted divorce lawyers at Clagett & Barnett today.

Can a service member slow down a divorce?

Generally, when one spouse “serves” divorce papers on the other spouse, the responding spouse must file a formal response, or “answer,” within a specific number of days. Then the court goes forward with scheduling the next steps in the divorce (such as mediation and/or hearings before the court). However, a federal law can change the normal court time schedule and deadlines if one party is on active duty. This law is the “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” or SCRA.

Deployment can impact custody issues in military divorce cases

When a military divorce involves children, these cases can get far more complicated as issues regarding mobilization and deployment will need to be considered and can impact the final custody agreements. Just how deployment can affect child custody disputes and/or arrangements, however, will depend on the specifics of a given case.

Military medical benefits can be extended to ex-spouses in some cases

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. Unless you have been married ten (10) years or more, the military generally will not split up the pension. However, even though it may not be split up formally by the military, Alaska courts will likely consider any part of the pension a marital asset if you were married to the military member while part of the pension was earned. For example, if your spouse was enlisted for twenty (20) years, but you were only married ten (10) of those twenty years, the court will only consider ten (10) years of military pay as a marital asset.

Health Benefits 20/20/20 Rule

Under the 20/20/20 rule, former spouses can receive full extended military medical benefits (as well as commissary privileges and other base-related privileges) when:

  • The marriage to the military member lasted for a minimum of 20 years.
  • The military member has given a minimum of 20 years of service that qualifies for retirement pay.
  • The marriage and the military service overlapped by a minimum of 20 years. If this overlap is between 15 and 20 years, then the extension of military medical benefits will generally only be granted for one year from the divorce date.

Are you going through a military divorce?

We understand the complexities of divorce among military families. 

(270) 900-0533

We have more than 30 years of experience in law and we have worked on hundreds of cases. Every case is very important.