Understanding Navy Divorce: What to Count on
Understanding Military Divorce: What To Expect
Understanding Military Divorce: What To Expect: Nobody expects to just be married for the union to end up in a divorce, and if you are involved in a military divorce the issues can in some ways be even more complex. For example, you may be stationed far from home, or even on the other side of the world, if you decide to end your marriage.
Regardless of the many problems that force couples to split up, divorce is an ugly, uncomfortable experience. It brings emotional, social, financial, and legal frustrations with it, and there is no easy way out. Treating these issues through a legal and informed approach can make the divorce process less daunting when you are in the military.
A better approach to solving divorce problems is to first understand the legal process of a military divorce. Knowing what to expect can help you make informed decisions that can have a positive impact on your future and the future of your children, if you have any.
Talking to a military legal aid office is the first step into the future. This will help you grasp the scope of your situation and the legal complexities involved. You can access these legal services in your field station whether you live in the US or overseas.
Military Legal Aid Office Services
Divorce is subject to state laws that vary from state to state. Depending on where you are filing your case, you will need to comply with certain federal laws and military regulations that govern military divorce. Your legal adviser will advise you on the following points:
Legal counsel attorney
Information on divorce and critical legal issues such as child support, income tax, and the Service Member Ease Act.
You and your spouse can get legal advice from the same law firm. However, they have separate attorneys to avoid any conflict of interest. In addition, the lawyer cannot represent you in legal proceedings.
Your Rights as a Military Spouse
If you are abandoned by your military spouse without your consent or legal repeal, you are entitled to the following benefits under federal, state, military and family law:
- Military housing or housing benefit
- Medical benefits
- Military ID
- Chain of command
- Installation support services
Your Rights and Benefits as a Divorced Military Member
In some ways, a military divorce can be easier than a civil divorce because there are safeguards built into the process for military personnel and their spouses.
The Service Member Relief Act
The Service Member Relief Act protects the rights of the military member facing a divorce suit. This law may intervene during divorce proceedings and request a postponement if there is substantial evidence that the service member cannot, for reasons of duty, participate in such proceedings. The law also protects service members from a court judgment for not participating in divorce proceedings.
The law on the protection of former spouses of uniformed men
This is a federal law that protects the rights of ex-spouses of service members. It entitles them to certain privileges such as exchange of officers, medicine and theater under the Moral Welfare and Recreation Program. These privileges only apply if the unmarried ex-spouse meets the following requirements, known as the 20/20/20 rule:
- At the time of the marriage annulment, they had been married to the service member for at least two decades.
- The service member has served in the military for at least two decades. This will help determine if they are eligible for retirement benefits.
- The 20 years of marriage overlap with the years of service.
Effects of Divorce on Military Advantage
Whether or not you meet the 20/20/20 rule, you can enjoy certain privileges until your divorce process is completed. Benefits include keeping your military ID, receiving commissioners, health services and exchanges. However, there are a few issues to be aware of:
Once the divorce is finalized and the service member moves out, you will automatically lose family housing installation within 30 days.
Relocation costs for the service member’s former spouse can be covered by the military. The divorced spouses can also negotiate settlement terms that take into account moving costs.
Custody and alimony
Military regulations state that a divorced military parent must continue to support their members, especially children, when a marriage ends. However, these guidelines require a court order. Once you’ve received a court order requesting child or child support, you can return it to the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) for the government to pay for child support or child support.
Divorce outside the US can be more complex and frustrating as US courts seldom recognize it. For a less stressful divorce process, it is advisable to file your case in U.S. military regulations, which allow military personnel to file for divorce in a non-military spouse’s state of residence, the service member’s state of residence, or the service member’s state of legal residence.
Overall, family members of the military member can return home with their belongings before the military member finishes his business trip. The government pays all costs. The service member may obtain legal advice from the law firm regarding personal property acquired abroad.
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