For everyone involved, divorce and legal separation bring a multitude of emotions, considerations, and logistical questions. These concerns are amplified with unique circumstances surrounding military families with one parent possibly deployed. It is important to investigate and consider key challenges and aspects of military divorce that impact your life.
The following blog will detail some of the key considerations to consider when divorcing as a military family and offer suggestions on how to choose the right legal team to represent your case.
According to the New York Post, occupational divorce rates among the various branches of military serve as the highest 3 of 10 occupations where divorce is the highest. Additionally, the article also found that military divorce rates were higher among female service members than male service members and that divorce rates were highest among service members who were married at a young age.
The study authors suggest that the stresses of military life, including long deployments, frequent moves, and high operational tempos, may contribute to higher divorce rates among military couples. Due to the high-stress nature of the job, and other unique factors, if you find yourself ready to legally separate or divorce, you should consider the factors that are unique to the military with a qualified lawyer.
First, there are residency requirements. In Virginia, you or your spouse must be a resident in the state for at least six months before you can file for divorce. However, suppose you or your spouse are on active duty and stationed outside Virginia. In that case, you may still be able to file for divorce in Virginia as long as you can establish residency through other means.
Another consideration is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This federal law provides certain protections for active-duty military members, including a stay of court proceedings while the member is on active duty. If you or your spouse are on active duty, it’s essential to understand how the SCRA may affect your divorce case.
There are special rules regarding military pensions and benefits. Military pensions and other benefits are considered marital property in Virginia and can be divided in a divorce. However, some specific rules and regulations apply to military pensions, and working with an attorney who understands these rules is essential.
Working with a qualified divorce or family law attorney who understands the unique challenges and considerations is important if you’re going through a military divorce. A divorce attorney may help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your rights and interests.
One of the most essential specialties a divorce attorney can do is help you understand your options. Different types of military divorce exist, including uncontested, contested, and collaborative divorce. An attorney can help you determine which type of divorce suits your situation.
If you’re considering divorce and your spouse is in the military, it’s essential to understand the special considerations involved and to work with an attorney who understands military families’ unique challenges. Mahoney, Richmond, and Thurston PLLC’s lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.