What Should I Know About Divorcing Someone Who is in the Military?

three US army members

A military divorce can offer its own procedural difficulties, but you do not have to worry about them too much when you have an experienced Memphis, Tennessee military divorce lawyer on your side. We can guide you through the process and tell you more about the potential obstacles you can face.

Are There Special Considerations for Military Divorce in Tennessee?

There are certainly a few things that you should be aware of when you file for divorce from a spouse that is in the military. The process can differ due to a few key factors.

Serving divorce papers: This can be a bit more difficult in a military divorce. If your spouse is currently deployed overseas, the process is simply going to take longer. The papers also need to be served in the official language of the country where they are serving, even if your spouse does not speak that language.

Requests for stays: An active-duty member of the military can often request a stay once they are actually served papers. This can mean that the proceedings are delayed for 90 days, in accordance with the latest updates to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. Additional stays can also be requested, but a judge can decide whether or not they should be granted.

Residency requirements: The residency requirements for a military divorce can also differ. You can usually file in either the state of your residence or in the state where your spouse is currently stationed.

Protection from default judgment: Normally, if you serve someone papers and they ignore them, the court can proceed with a default judgment against the defendant. This often means a positive outcome for the plaintiff. However, members of the military are protected from default judgments when they are deployed or on active duty.

How are Military Pensions and Other Benefits Divided in a Divorce?

A military pension is no longer considered income in the traditional sense. Instead, the pension is considered property, and property gets divided up in a divorce. Generally, the military will provide pension payments directly to an ex-spouse if:

  • A marriage lasted 10 years
  • The spouse in the military served at least 10 years
  • Those two periods overlapped

An ex-spouse can also receive other benefits if the marriage lasted longer, including permanent medical insurance and a military ID of their own and the privileges that brings.

Can Custody Agreements Change After a Military Divorce?

A custody agreement has to be drafted with the military spouse’s duties and obligations in mind. This agreement might have to change if they are deployed to another base in another state or country. If you are unsure of your rights as a noncustodial parent in the military, you should contact an attorney.

Talk to an Experienced Divorce Attorney

When you contact Rice Law you can learn more about how military divorces work in Tennessee. We can also tell you more about what our knowledgeable divorce attorneys can do to assist you. Reach out and schedule your consultation today.