How Are Military Divorces Different Than Civilian Divorces?

The term “military divorce” can confuse many people who assume incorrectly that a military divorce happens in the military court system, but it does not. A military divorce merely means that one or both spouses are members of the armed forces. The dissolution of marriage proceeding will take place in a regular civil courtroom, just like any other divorce.

You do need to be aware, however, that the divorce court will have to follow some different rules, such as when and where the case can get filed. Also, making certain allegations during the divorce case can have negative repercussions on the military spouse if those things are violations of military law, such as adultery and spousal or child abuse. North Carolina family law attorneys can look at your situation and elaborate on how military divorces are different from civilian divorces.

How the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Can Impact Your Divorce

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows active-duty members of the military to focus on their duties without the distraction of getting sued back at home. Military personnel can delay lawsuits from going forward until they can make arrangements to be present at court.

The SCRA is not automatic, and the military spouse has the option to go forward with the divorce. When the break-up is amicable, the parties could sign agreements and other required documents to get a non-contested divorce, depending on the rules of the court. 

Jurisdictional Issues with a Military Spouse

One of the trickiest issues with a military divorce is deciding where to file the lawsuit. The servicemember has more control over this issue than the non-military spouse. If the spouses do not agree on where to file the divorce, then the only states where the case can get filed are where the military spouse lives or is a resident. 

The residency of the military spouse is similar to the residency of a student who temporarily lives away at college but maintains residency in his home state. The court will look to factors like the state where the military spouse has a driver’s license, votes, and pays income taxes to determine residency.

Child and Spousal Support in a Military Divorce

The calculation of child and spousal support can be different in a military divorce because military paychecks are not the same as civilian pay. The state laws where the divorce gets filed will control, but the attorneys will need to take additional steps to learn the details about housing allowance, health insurance, work-related daycare, and other relevant items. The military must honor the terms of the divorce concerning support.

How Military Service Can Affect Child Custody and Visitation

Getting deployed to another state or country is part of the military experience, but that reality can wreak havoc on child custody and support arrangements. If possible, the parties should address in the divorce documents how future relocations will get handled. State law will control when there is a dispute.

North Carolina family law attorneys can help you navigate the process when you are anticipating or going through a military divorce. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.