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What's so different about a military divorce?

Married couples where one or both spouses are members of the U.S. military are pretty much like most civilian couples in that they are married, often have children and go through similar ups and downs in their journeys like everyone else. However, as a military spouse, you know that there are certain issues you may deal with at one time or another that a civilian married couple will likely never experience, such as deployment.  

In fact, such issues can wear heavily on a marriage and, in some cases, create problems that one or both spouses find unresolvable. Just as daily life presents unique challenges when you are a military spouse, so too does divorce. The more you learn ahead of time regarding child custody, spousal support and even things like pension pay, the better informed and able you will be to achieve a fair and agreeable settlement.  

Key factors that may have an impact on your divorce 

You'll already be dealing with the fluctuating emotions that are typical in most divorces. You may feel overwhelmed when thinking about the future and whether or not you'll have enough money to provide for your kids, as well as other matters that may affect your quality of life. Your stress levels may increase or decrease, depending on how much you know about the following issues:  

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: This is a law that prohibits you or anyone from filing a lawsuit against your spouse if he or she is serving active duty overseas. This would include any and all proceedings having to do with child custody, child support, visitation or alimony. 
  • Base Benefits: In certain circumstances, you may qualify to retain your base privileges for the rest of your life. It typically depends on whether or not you satisfy the 20/20/20 rule, which means you were married 20 years, your spouse's service was at least 20 years and the two overlap. 
  • Remarriage cancels base benefits: At some point, you may decide to enter another romantic relationship after you finalize your divorce. If you happen to remarry, you will no longer qualify for base benefits.
  • Legal residence: It is not always necessary to file divorce in the state that stations your spouse. It is often possible for the spouse filing the petition to do so in a state where either spouse has legal residence established; it is crucial to clarify the laws of your state before proceeding.  

If you and your children have supported your spouse through deployment in the past, you know all too well how challenging it can be to take care of the home front while a spouse is away, especially if you had the added worry of a combat situation. When preparing for divorce, you can rely on the family support programs the military has to offer, as well as reach out for legal support whenever you think it's necessary.

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