A divorce involving a member of the U.S. armed forces present unique challenges to the parties involved and may require help from an attorney trained in military divorce situations.
Unlike most divorces that are governed by state law, a military divorce will also involve federal military law. Most laypersons and even many family law attorneys are not familiar with this special set of federal laws that apply to military personnel.
Challenges of a Military Divorce
Some of the unique challenges posed by a divorce involving members of the armed forces can include:
- Timing of Divorce. Unlike a standard divorce, someone cannot simply initiate and go through with divorce proceedings when she feels like it. Instead, federal law provides certain protections to service members that limit when a military divorce proceeding can take place and also provides situations when a divorce may be postponed. The rationale for these laws is to protect military members who may be on active duty and unable to devote their full attention to a domestic issue at home.
- Child Visitation. Members of the military may be deployed in far away places and unable to see their children for months at a time. Understanding this unique challenge of military service members, a family law attorney experienced in military divorce can help you argue for unusual child custody arrangements.
- Spousal and Child Support. Military members may receive unconventional compensation such as housing allowances and combat pay. In working with an attorney, you will need to determine what is considered income and what may be used to support an alimony or child support request.
- Property Division. Similar to spousal and child support, a military member may have unique property such as a military pension and benefits. The splitting of such assets may be governed by federal law and may be entitled to special consideration by a family court.