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The challenges of divorce in the military

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Divorce |

Servicemembers who are married and have families face unique challenges when it comes to divorce. During marriage, the frequent or extended deployments of active-duty members create upheavals in family life both while they are away and when they return home.

When military spouses have been injured and return home with an addiction to pain medications or mental health issues, these personal challenges can put tremendous stress on relationships. Sometimes the instability of military life can burden relationships too much.

When divorce happens, it is important to know the procedures and laws in place that determine property division, pensions and other benefits.

Getting divorced while deployed

Dealing with divorce while overseas adds another dimension to the stress that service members face while on active duty. While many wish to resolve important issues and work through points of disagreement in person, for others it is better to end it while deployed.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) includes a provision allows a postponement if one spouse is deployed when the divorce papers are served. Where the stay of proceedings will adversely affect care of the children, especially if the parent having custody is deployed, the court will issue a temporary order that will address any custody issues that result.

For servicemembers who do not want to wait until they return to finalize the divorce, depending on the unique circumstances of the family situation, there are ways of completing the entire process remotely by email and through the internet.

Property division for military couples

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) has a provision that allows state courts to rule on the division of retirement and pension benefits as part of a divorce settlement. Under this law’s 10/10 rule, if a couple has been married at least 10 years during any part of one spouse’s service, the non-service spouse can receive retirement pay.

Under the 20/20/20 rule, if the couple has been married 20 years during any part of the military spouse’s service, the non-service spouse can receive lifetime medical coverage.

There are unique issues that service members in Pensacola face when it comes to divorce. The family law attorneys at The Holman Law Firm understand the special complexities of military divorce proceedings and can help you to work through this difficult process so that you can go on with your life.


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