Considerations for a Peaceful Military Divorce Process

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Thursday April 7th, 2022.

Depending on the conditions, the divorce process can differ for each family. Because of the large number of military families in the United States, it’s also vital to address some differences and concerns that a military divorce may bring up.

 Service Members Civil Relief Act

When service members are on active duty, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act helps to protect their legal rights. When one spouse serves the other with divorce papers, the latter is usually required to answer within a set amount of time. However, under the SCRA:

  • If the service member demonstrates that they cannot attend due to duty obligations, civil court or administrative proceedings may be extended.
  • In some cases, service members may be protected from default judgments if they fail to answer a lawsuit or attend a trial.

If You Are Overseas

A divorce decree made outside of the United States may be difficult to enforce since American courts do not recognize it. As a result, filing in the United States is frequently the best option.

Service members or their spouses can apply for divorce in the state where they are currently stationed, the state where they claim legal domicile or the state where the nonmilitary spouse resides, depending on the state’s laws.

Effect of Divorce on Military Benefits

The nonmilitary spouse may keep their identity card and continue to get commissary, exchange, and health-care benefits until the divorce is finalized. When a military member or other family members leave due to a divorce, installation family housing usually ends within 30 days.

The military may pay for the nonmilitary spouse’s relocation costs when he or she returns home from an overseas deployment post. The cost of an in-state move could be negotiated as part of the divorce settlement.

In the absence of an agreement or a court order, each military branch has policies requiring service members to support family members after separation.

When divorce causes a loss of TRICARE benefits, coverage can be purchased for up to 36 months of temporary health care benefits through the Department of Defense Continued Health Care Benefit program.

Don’t Get Discouraged

As you can see, a military divorce comes with its own set of complications. An attorney with experience handling military divorce can help you navigate the process efficiently. 

The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers provides top-notch legal representation to clients in Daytona Beach and southern Florida. Our areas of legal practice include family lawpersonal injuryeminent domain, and estate planning and probate. Our firm has over 60 years of addressing our clients’ legal issues. Please feel free to contact us by filling out our online form or calling us at (386) 252-3000.

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