Using a divorce attorney will help you protect your rights and interests when in a divorce involving a member of the armed forces. Certain laws apply to these individuals that do not apply to civilian divorces.
Divorcing a service member is not quite as simple as divorcing someone who has never served in the armed forces. Each branch of the US forces has specific laws surrounding the way in which individuals must separate from their spouses. These laws are in place to protect those who bravely serve our country from being unfairly divorced while they are deployed. This is why you need a divorce attorney when seeking this type of separation.
First, in order to separate from a spouse who serves as a service member, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirement in the state where you are filing. In most states, those who are stationed or based in the state will meet the filing requirements once the established amount of time has passed. However, you will want to talk to a lawyer to see if there are any specific requirements you must meet for residency.
Another issue facing service members is the fact that their duties may impact their ability to participate in court proceedings or other aspects of the case. Whether you are the individual who is serving or the non-service member spouse, you need to understand how this affects the situation. The service member has the right to seek a 90-day stay on the proceedings. This pauses the proceedings for 90 days, giving time for the service member to perform his or her duties and return to the state for the proceedings.
A divorce attorney can also help in situations where child custody is in question. Sometimes, when a parent is deployed, the non-custodial parent will receive temporary custody of the child. These lawyers know how to proceed with this temporary modification of the custody order. By using one, you will be certain that your interests are protected in the case as much as possible.
If you are the service member, you do have some protections as well. For instance, if you are in active duty, you cannot be held in default if you do not respond to the legal action taken against you by your spouse. Having a divorce attorney on your side will make sure that you have all of these rights protected.
Benefits that the non-service member spouse once received are at stake when the couple divorces. Understanding how these will be affected by the process is not simple, particularly when there are children who should be due benefits, or when a house was purchased under the VA home loan program. Your retirement benefits may be protected, even if you are not a service member, if you have been married for 10 years or longer to a service member. Using a lawyer can help you protect both your interests and the interests of your children when it comes to these types of benefits.
Remember, separating from your spouse is never a simple process. When you or your spouse is in the service of our country, it becomes even more complicated, regardless of the state you live in. To avoid any mistakes or the loss of your interests, use a divorce attorney to help you through the process.