Various courts of law exist across the country for a number of purposes, ranging from bankruptcy cases to criminal charges, and some courts for family law are in fact divorce courts, and military divorce follows similar patterns to civilian cases of divorce, with a few extra aspects to it. Some general trends of divorce in the United States today may apply to the process of hiring and using a military divorce attorney in a court case for child custody, possession of assets and money, living situations for all parties involved, and more, and military divorce attorneys can be found in the state in which a service member is currently stationed, and this may affect how they find their lawyer. An Internet search is one option, with a query like “Texas military lawyer” or “Oregon military lawyer” so that military divorce attorneys can be scouted and consulted. Another route to finding military divorce attorneys is to make use of the service member’s military branch for further help. How can this be done?
Divorce in the U.S.
Some trends of divorce apply to service members, and others are unique to different branches of the military. For example, in the U.S. Navy, it has been found that divorce rates are around 12.5%, and these rates may vary in other branches. Often, when children are in the marriage, they end up living with their mothers; it has been estimated that 75% of children who went through their parents’ divorce take this route, whether told to or choosing for themselves. For children aged 12 and over, however, they are allowed to have private sessions with the judge about the post-divorce proceedings about their living situation preferences.
Finding military divorce attorneys can be done in a number of ways, according to Stateside Legal. For one thing, the service member may file for divorce in the state in which they or their spouse live, although different American states will have different laws about dividing military pensions, so the filer for divorce should be aware of how that will play out. And in general, once one spouse goes forward with a divorce petition, the other party has a set number of days to provide an answer, although for active duty service members, the court may change the pre-set dates for court appearances to adjust for the service member’s schedule. This is known as the “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,” the SCRA. This allows the service member to request a “stay,” which is a delay of the proceedings, such as claims like child support or custody or property division. Making a written request for this will be required.
Most military bases will have lawyers on hand, and a service member of any branch can make use of them. Instead of representing the service member in their divorce, these military divorce attorneys will render other services. For example, these military divorce lawyers may write letters on the service member’s behalf, review and revise any legal documents that the service member provides, negotiate on the service member’s behalf, and answer any questions that the service member may have, including questions from that service member’s private lawyer if need be. In fact, the service member’s spouse may also access these lawyers and make use of their services. A soldier’s wife may visit the base and get aid from the lawyer present, for example.
As for the matter of military pensions, this can be complicated, so any service member is urged to find a lawyer who is skilled and experienced with such an issue. The divorce court may give a share of the pension to the non-military spouse in any amount that it deems fair, regardless of how long the marriage lasted, and if the years of service exceed the number of years of marriage, this may affect how the pension is divided, and whether or not the military spouse will remain in service after the divorce is finished. Overall, the service member and their spouse must familiarize themselves with the unique legal issues that face military couples when they get a divorce.