Sometimes, it becomes necessary to terminate the marriage, even when one of the spouses is doing military service and is far away from the family. And an active military status of a spouse can significantly affect the entire divorce procedure. Regardless of the situation and divorce reasons, it is important that you are informed of your personal legal affairs and know how to act. We are here to shed the light on military divorce, filing procedures, and the legal side of the process so that this event is easy, fast, and hassle-free for you.
Understanding Military Divorce Procedures
First of all, it is necessary to figure out what documents are needed for a divorce and what steps are to be taken on your end to initiate the process. This will help to avoid mistakes and rash actions and will save you from many problems. The best move is to contact a legal assistance office to get an in-depth understanding of the situation.
If you are a service member or a military spouse deciding to end your marriage, here are some key points that you should know:
- Military divorce is governed by state law and local procedures. Some military regulations and federal statutes may apply as well. So make sure that you check all the details together with a military lawyer and are aware of the possible pitfalls;
- You can apply for free military legal assistance services through the installation legal assistance office. You can also hire a military attorney who will help you with military affidavits and settlement agreements if necessary;
- You are free to get a military lawyer to guide you and explain the legal implications of your divorce.
Military and Civilian Divorce
Although military divorces are settled in the state court, there are several rules that apply to active members of the military that must be adhered to:
- Having received divorce papers from a plaintiff, a defendant has 90 days to find and work with an attorney and prepare their case;
- It is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that protects members of the military from ending up divorced by default;
- Spousal and child support combined may not be over 60% of the service member’s pay;
- Military spouse’s retirement benefits are disbursed and protected from becoming joint property in a divorce by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
Before filing for divorce from a member of the military, take your time to learn about the process and get clear on your rights and responsibilities.
Where to File for a Divorce?
You can file for a divorce in a state where either you or your spouse has legal residence. It is also possible to file in the home state where you pay taxes or are stationed in. So when it comes to military divorce in Maryland, you need to apply to Maryland Court to have your application reviewed. And at the time of applying for divorce, at least one spouse must have been a Maryland resident for at least 6 months prior to filing.
What is more, in the state of Maryland, you can obtain an “absolute divorce” or a “limited divorce,” which are two different things. The key difference between them is that in the case of the latter, the couple is still legally married but separated. On the other hand, an absolute divorce is what is typically referred to as a divorce in other states. Therefore, it is important that you specify the exact marriage status you want to obtain.
How a Military Lawyer Can Help You
Military divorce is complicated, especially when it comes to dividing military retired pay and having a pension-share check. Before filing for a divorce, you need to know how a state might handle both the divorce process and the division of the military pension. So when deciding on a divorce, service members and their spouses must be aware of the legal issues that have an impact on military divorces. If you are not there yet, then military legal assistance offices can help you.
You can get the following services from your installation’s assistance office:
- Legal assistance attorneys;
- Advice on legal issues, such as child custody and support, or division of homes, vehicles, money, and other marital property.
If you and your spouse have no disputes, you may file for a no-fault divorce. In this case, a divorce process will most likely be fast and problem-free. In the case your opinions regarding child custody or dividing assets differ, you can get a divorce lawyer to mediate your dispute and help you draft a settlement agreement.
Are you thinking about getting divorced from a member of the military? We recommend that you schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who has had experience with a military divorce. Avoid complex divorce proceedings!