We have all heard the same story before – a married service member deploys, becomes disinterested in the marriage, and decides to call it quits. Military service can put an enormous strain on a marriage, as it often requires married couples to spend months if not years apart from each other in different states or even different countries. As such, military service can introduce many complications during the divorce process and involve additional legal issues which must be addressed, such as determining in which state couples should file for divorce, splitting military pensions between spouses, and dividing custody rights between military spouses.
If you are approaching or are already involved in a military divorce, the following steps can help you make sense of your situation:
- Choose which state to file for divorce: The law allows military spouses to file for divorce in the state in which a spouse has a legal residence, with the spouse initiating the divorce generally filing in their resident state. Before making a decision, it is important to know how that state handles the division of military pensions. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), the state where the military member resides always has the authority to divide military pension during divorce. If the state you choose is not the military service member’s state of residence, the courts may not have the ability to divide the pension.
- Gather documents: The divorce process will require you to locate and provide copies of various documents to resolve issues such as asset division, alimony, and even child custody. Generally speaking, the more information you have, the better. From bank statements to property title deeds and tax returns, if it seems important, make a copy. Your attorney can help you with this process and provide you with a list of all documents you will need.
- Begin the separation process: Some states require spouses to live separate and apart for a certain amount of time before being granted a divorce. This can be anywhere from six months to one year. Depending on the state in which you are filing, a deployment may or may not qualify towards this separation period. If not, either you or your spouse will need to establish a separate residence and wait the appropriate amount of time.
- Retain legal representation: Whether you are a service member yourself or you are simply married to one, it is imperative you discuss your divorce with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected. A military divorce attorney will be able to handle the legal heavy lifting and complexities on your behalf, saving you from numerous pitfalls and frustrations.
Military Divorce Attorney in San Diego
Military divorces can be extremely emotional and complex matters that should not be handled alone. At The Edmunds Law Firm, our San Diego military divorce lawyers have more than 35 years of experience helping active duty service members and their families pursue amicable divorce solutions and can provide the unshakable support you need to ensure your assets are guarded. To find out more about what our award-winning advocates can do for you, call us toll-free at (760) 634-7630 or contact our office online today.