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How Is Military Divorce Different for Active Duty Service Members?

How Is Military Divorce Different For Active Duty Service Members?

If you are seeking a divorce from a spouse on active military duty, your case could be slightly more complex than the average divorce case. Having a spouse who is an active duty service member can impact the length of your case and the outcome.

Below, we’ll briefly review how military divorce is different from a typical divorce and how the Virginia military divorce attorneys at Invictus Law can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and obtain a favorable resolution.

No matter what type of divorce you are pursuing or what issues need to be worked out, you can trust our compassionate divorce lawyers to walk you through every step of the process. Contact us for a free consultation.

How Is Divorce Different for Active Duty Service Members?

Individuals divorcing active duty service members are subject to the Service Members Civil Relief Act, enacted in 2003 and amended many times since. Any United States citizen who seeks a divorce from their spouse must indicate whether their spouse is a member of the U.S. military. This law was enacted to prevent spouses from divorcing active duty service members who could not be present for legal proceedings.

Spouses of active duty service members cannot seek a divorce without the consent of their spouse, as expressed through a signed affidavit.

Where to File

Active duty service members who are seeking a divorce from their spouse can file for divorce several different ways:

  • You could file for divorce in the state where you pay taxes
  • You can also file in the last state where you lived for at least six months
  • If you are stationed outside the U.S., you can permit your spouse to file for divorce in the state where they currently live
  • If you are stationed in the country, you can file for divorce in the state where you are currently stationed

While civilians typically have to abide by residency requirements when filing for divorce, these requirements are commonly waived for military members.

What Is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)?

Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) in 1982 to provide certain protections and benefits to former spouses of U.S. military personnel.

If you are divorcing an active duty service member, the USFSPA can impact how your marital assets are divided. The law permits state courts to divide military retirement pay between the two spouses and permits former spouses of service members to obtain a portion of retirement pay from the U.S. government, in some cases.

Through the USFSPA, former spouses of service members could also be entitled to benefits such as healthcare and access to military exchanges and commissaries. Victims of spousal or child abuse can also obtain benefits through the USFSPA.

How a Lawyer Could Help

Obtaining a divorce from an active duty service member can be complicated, but the Virginia Beach military divorce attorneys at Invictus Law have extensive experience helping active duty service members and their spouses navigate the legal process and resolve disputes.

Our attorneys will make sure you understand all of the legal requirements you must fulfill to obtain a divorce, prepare divorce papers on your behalf, help you iron out financial and custody issues, defend your parenting and property rights, calculate alimony and child support, and act as your advocate throughout the process.

Contact a Virginia military divorce lawyer at Invictus Law today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.

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