Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Military Divorce Can Become Complicated Quickly

Military Divorce
If you are going through a military divorce, keep in mind that it will likely be more complicated than a civilian one, simply because of the various issues at play.  Active duty military members and their family face specific challenges that are unique; for example, when one spouse is on deployment another can still file for divorce. It becomes incredibly difficult to deal with a divorce from thousands of miles away where communication may be limited.

Are you currently deployed?

This puts you at a distinct disadvantage.  When someone files for divorce, the clock starts ticking on certain timeline issues and without a lawyer representing you, there may be no one local to ask for the process to be stopped or stayed pending their return.  JAG will sometimes get involved, but they are not going to represent you in divorce court.  You still need an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your interests.

Hiring an attorney is especially important if you are facing a military divorce and have children.  In this scenario, you need an advocate to present your side and how you are involved in caring for your children when you are home.  Oftentimes, active duty military members are portrayed by the other side as unengaged when this is simply not the case.  Being in the military is your job, and like any job, it does not diminish how you feel about your children.  Your responsibilities for work are simply different than if you had a 9-to-5 job.  We understand this and are experts at making a case for why you should still have joint custody of your children.

Dividing Finances

There are additional financial considerations that active duty military members and their spouse must consider.  When calculating things like child support, there are different forms of compensation that inexperienced lawyers don’t know how to sort through.  Things like housing allowances and combat pay need to be taken into consideration, and we know how to do so, when working with either party in a divorce.   Additionally, we can help to negotiate how things like retirement will be split up.

Where will you live?

This is a question that comes up frequently in a military divorce.  Typically, families move around a lot, but simply because you are stationed at a base, doesn’t mean that the divorcing spouse will want to stay there.  If you don’t have kids – it doesn’t matter.  Both parties are free to live where they choose.  If, however, you have children they will not be allowed to leave the state permanently without the courts consent.  An order of relocation will need to be filed as part of the divorce process and the judge will decide whether or not to grant it.  If the service member is obligated to stay stationed at a base for a period of time following the divorce, this can become even more complicated.

We are experienced with representing both service members and their spouses in a military divorce.  To get advice from an expert attorney, schedule your consultation today.