Addressing unique challenges presented by military divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Military Divorce on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

Military personnel going through a divorce in Missouri or another state know that there is no legal difference between the divorce process they go through and the one that civilians use. Still, there are additional factors that can impact divorce for military personnel or their spouse.

For example, the filing process may take longer if one of the divorcing parties is on active duty overseas or in a remote part of the world. Some states allow exceptions to their residency requirements for active-duty service personnel if they want to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act provides direction on issues including child support, retirement pay and spousal support. States may classify military retirement pay as property instead of income.

Some spouses think that since they have been designated the beneficiary of a Survival Benefit Plan while they were married, these benefits continue after divorce. This is not true. The Survival Benefit Plan is a mutually exclusive benefit and should be discussed during the divorce settlement.

Military spouses have several privileges, including base privileges. The 20/20/20 rule determines whether a spouse can keep these privileges after divorce. A person would have to be married to a service member for a minimum of 20 years, the ex-spouse must have spent at least 20 years in the military, and the marriage must have overlapped time in the service by a minimum of 20 years. If these apply, as long as the divorced spouse does not remarry, he or she has a right to full base privileges.

Military divorce presents unique challenges. A family law attorney may be able to help a client during the divorce process. This could include answering questions about child custody, property division in military divorce and other practical matters.

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