North Carolina is home to many military bases, including Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, and more. With half of all marriages ending in divorce, it’s understandable that military divorces are not uncommon in North Carolina. Military divorces present unique challenges for families. An experienced attorney can help you untangle the combination of laws that govern military divorce and separation.
Discuss Your Case With a New Bern Military Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering filing for a military divorce, there is a lot to consider. There are multiple state and federal laws that govern military separation and divorce. The North Carolina military divorce attorneys at Greene Crow & Smith can help you understand your legal rights and help you move through the divorce process while protecting your interests. Contact Greene Crow & Smith today to schedule your initial consultation.
Where to file for a Military Divorce
Multiple issues make going through a military divorce unique. The first challenge in obtaining a military divorce involves where to file for divorce. Military courts don’t grant divorces, so a member of the armed forces will need to file a complaint about divorce in a state court. The divorce has to be filed where the plaintiff or defendant resides. A person must reside in North Carolina for at least six months before filing for divorce in North Carolina. Being stationed in a state may not be enough to obtain the residency required to file for divorce. An experienced military divorce attorney can help you understand where you can and should file for divorce.
Common Military Divorce Issues
At Greene Crow & Smith, we regularly handle military divorces and understand the significance of property and asset division during a divorce. We also have an in-depth understanding of the state and federal laws that impact military divorces. Our military divorce attorneys use our experience and legal knowledge to effectively represent military divorce clients. We have a proven track record of successfully handling all of the common complications that may arise, such as:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Relocation and move-aways
- Military pension and retirement accounts
- Deployment issues
- Housing allowances
- Spousal support or alimony
When a couple pursuing a divorce has children, child custody issues can become a source of conflict. After the spouse who is petitioning for divorce files for divorce, a judge will consider all of the relevant factors involved in child custody. Most judges focus on multiple factors to determine what child custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. If you are not awarded primary custody, you should expect to pay some amount of child support.
If you and your spouse are able to agree on a child custody arrangement, the court will likely enforce that agreement. When negotiating a child custody agreement regarding visitation and custody, it’s important to consider factors like deployment. Parents may need to schedule visitation through online video services such as Skype. The custody agreement should also contain a clause allowing for missed visitation time with minor children to be made up. The child custody agreement should also cover the topic of which parents will pay for the cost of transportation when the parents live out of state.
The non-custodial parent will typically have to pay child support. Service members in the US military have a legal obligation to support their spouses and children. In addition to typical child support payments, the former spouse of a member of the military can request assistance from the service member’s commanding officer. Failure to pay child support can result in civilian penalties as well as penalties through the military court system. Military pay can be subjected to wage garnishment when a court has entered an order regarding child and/or spousal support.
Property Division in a Military Divorce
When a military couple files for divorce in North Carolina, North Carolina laws will govern the division of assets and debt in the divorce. North Carolina is not a community property state. As a result, the court will not necessarily divide the marital property evenly between the spouses. Instead, the court will consider multiple factors including the income, property, and health of each party, the length of the marriage, and efforts made by each spouse to acquire property. They will also consider tax consequences and multiple other factors when dividing marital property.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act allows state courts to divide up military retirement pay. Depending on the length of the marriage, the civilian spouse may be entitled to keep certain benefits even after the couple divorces. Whether you are a civilian spouse seeking a portion of the service member’s retirement benefits, or you are the service member, we recommend discussing your case with an attorney who understands all of the laws involved in military divorces.
The Benefits of Hiring a Military Divorce Attorney
Divorce is stressful enough without adding the challenges and anxiety of handling complex legal issues by yourself. When you’re considering divorce or you’ve been served with papers while on active duty, an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process. If you’ve been served with divorce papers while out of state on deployment or overseas, we can protect your rights through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, giving you more time to respond.
At Greene Crow & Smith, we can walk you through the process and help you understand how military divorce is different from civilian divorce so that your rights are protected. If you are the spouse of an active-duty service member, you may be entitled to rights and benefits that a civilian would not have.
Whether you are the service member or civilian spouse involved in the divorce, we recommend that you do not sign an agreement before consulting with an attorney. Property division, child custody, and child support agreements can be difficult to change after you’ve agreed to them in writing. An attorney can review the document and ensure that there aren’t any red flags that would put your interests in jeopardy.
Contact a New Bern Military Divorce Attorney
If you’re pursuing a military divorce in North Carolina, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Working with an experienced military divorce attorney can help you move through the process as smoothly as possible while protecting your rights. At Greene Crow & Smith, our attorneys have the knowledge and background that the North Carolina military families should look for when considering ending their marriage. Contact Greene Crow & Smith today to schedule a consultation to learn more about our military divorce services.