Tips for Surviving a Military Divorce

Getting a divorce is never simple, but when one partner is in the military, the situation can get complicated quickly. Over the years, the federal government has implemented several measures designed to protect service members and longtime spouses. These additional protections can increase the amount of time needed to finalize the divorce, creating additional stress for both parties. Staying informed and being proactive throughout the divorce can make the process easier to handle, but even the most prepared adult can find him or herself overwhelmed. Fortunately, surviving a military divorce is possible if you keep a few tips in mind.

Take Advantage of Residency Exceptions

The first step in most divorce filings is proving that you or your spouse are a resident of the state in which you are filing. A person who is in the military or married to a service member may end up in a situation in which he or she is not yet a legal resident of the state they are living in at the time divorce becomes a necessity. This prompts many to initiate a divorce in what they believe to be their state of residency, leading to additional travel expenses and the added burden of worrying about being able to attend last minute court hearings. Taking advantage of state laws that allow a military member or their spouse to file for divorce in the state in which they are stationed, even if traditional residency requirements are not met, can simplify your divorce while saving both parties money.

Utilize the Civil Relief Act

Military divorce rates have slowly started to decline, but the chances of a divorce being initiated during a deployment remain high. The marriage challenges associated with deployment include long-term separation, anxiety, depression, and resentment all combining to increase the likelihood of one or both parties wanting a divorce. A spouse who has remained behind may attempt to file for a divorce while the service member is still deployed, hoping to get a favorable settlement without engaging in a long battle with his or her spouse. If your spouse suddenly files for divorce while you are on deployment, utilizing the Service Members Civil Relief Act allows you to postpone all court proceedings until you are able to attend. The act protects you from having an unfavorable judgement entered against you if you are unable to attend court because of duty.

Remember Moving Expenses

A person who is focused on having his or her marriage legally dissolved often forgets to plan for the future immediately following a successful divorce. One thing you do not want to overlook is having your moving expenses covered by the military or included in your divorce negotiations.  If you or your spouse is stationed in Hawaii and plan to return to Ohio after the divorce is finalized, the last thing you want to worry about is financing your move. The military may pay for moving expenses, especially if you are stationed overseas, or the couple can include reasonable moving costs in the divorce settlement.

Contact an Attorney

Even with careful planning and knowledge of tips that can make your divorce more manageable, it is easy to forget major details that can ultimately cost you emotionally or financially. Turning to a military divorce attorney for help is the best way to protect yourself and ensure your divorce is handled properly.  The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office realize how difficult it is to get divorced while you are in the military or married to a service member. Our staff is ready to provide you with the legal advice you need. Contact our conveniently located Columbus, Ohio office today so that we can discuss your case.

Preparing for a Military Divorce

Getting a divorce is never easy, but being an active duty service member or retired veteran adds complications to an already difficult process. The unique circumstances often surrounding the end of a marriage when one partner is, or was, in the military require specialized knowledge and extra preparation. If you or someone close to you is preparing for a military divorce, it is important to educate yourself regarding certain factors that can seriously impact your divorce settlement. Failing to consult an attorney who understands military divorce could create a situation in which you do not have the representation of an advocate who is truly able to act in your best interest.

Obtain Funds

Divorce is typically expensive regardless of the route you take. Once you are certain that divorce is your only option, it is a good idea to begin saving funds to use for your divorce and to pay for basic expenses. Most attorneys will require you to pay a retainer and if you are a military spouse, it is possible that the service member will stop any allotments that you are receiving. Also, if your spouse decides to move out of the marital home, there might be a period of time during which you are required to handle all of the household expenses alone. Entering the divorce process with no cash on hand increases the likelihood of agreeing to an unreasonable settlement because you are in a desperate financial situation.

Take Advantage of Counseling

Active duty military personnel and their spouses are able to receive counseling prior to getting divorce. The counseling services are free, confidential, and can offer the emotional support you need. Instead of focusing on encouraging a couple to stay together, pre-divorce counselors can provide realistic advice and can continue to provide you with an emotional outlet once the divorce proceedings begin. Military counseling services aid military spouses and service members during the extremely stressful divorce process. These services are especially useful in situations where a pre-divorce separation is required.

Gather Documentation

Many aspects of military divorce are reliant on the length of time the couple was married while the service member was in the military. Retirement sharing, health insurance, and other benefits are determined by how much of the marriage took place while the military member was in service. Gathering documentation regarding your marriage, the time spent in the military, investments, accounts, property information, and other details can help prove your case along with the assets to which you are entitled. Also, record your own spending and income so that disclosing your financial resources is easier.

Contact an Attorney

Contacting an attorney who has experience helping military families is the most important part of your divorce process. A military divorce attorney who understands military benefits and retirement distribution can ensure that your rights are protected. The attorneys at Lawrence Law Office understand how complicated a military divorce is and we have helped many clients achieve positive outcomes. Contact our Columbus, Ohio office today to discuss your situation and schedule a consultation.

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