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How Do You Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military?

Divorce is often a challenging legal process that involves several complex steps. Having a spouse who is actively completing military duty can complicate your divorce’s timeline and outcome, even if the decision to split was mutual. There are several rules for a military divorce that you should be aware of before beginning the process. 

Whether your case is no-fault or complex, our attorneys at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC are prepared to assist you. We provide advice specific to your case so you know how your spouse’s active military duty may affect your divorce. Contact us now for a case evaluation. 

Differences in Divorce for Active Duty Service Members

The Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003 prevents individuals from divorcing a military spouse who is unable to attend the divorce proceedings. Per this act, you must state that your spouse is not active in military duty. If your spouse is a military member, you will need them to sign a defendant’s affidavit of consent to pursue a divorce.    

How to File for Divorce

If you are a deployed military member hoping to file for divorce, you have several jurisdiction options available, which may include: 

  • Filing in the state you previously resided for a period of more than six months
  • Filing in the state where you pay taxes
  • Allowing the other party to file wherever in the U.S. he or she lives
  • If applicable, filing in the state where you are stationed in the U.S., even if you aren’t a resident of that state

States often eliminate the requirement for residency when a service member performing active duty seeks a divorce, so most military members can select from these options.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) might influence how your assets are divided since you or your spouse is an active military member. The USFSPA provides insight into many questions you may have about former spouses’ eligibility for certain privileges, including commissary and exchange, health care coverage and military retirement pay. Under this act, the former spouse doesn’t automatically receive part of the service member’s retirement compensation, and there are various requirements in order to qualify. 

Legal Matters Involved in a Military Divorce

Aside from the aforementioned rules, the divorce process for military members is similar to a typical divorce. You and your spouse will need to arrange the following:

  • Division of marital assets
  • Division of debts, credit card bills and loans
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Child custody

Many of the forms completed will contain the same information. In Virginia, you may file for a no-fault divorce if you and the other party do not have any disputes. If you do have disagreements regarding child custody or asset division, our skilled divorce attorneys can assist you through the process and explore possible settlements. 

Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today

‘Divorce is complicated enough. If you or your spouse are active military members, you may encounter a number of challenges. Contact our divorce lawyers at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC to protect your best interests.