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Special Considerations for Military Divorce

It is often said that every divorce is different because every couple is different, and it’s true — every marriage has its own factors and is entirely dependent upon the spouses involved. That said, some situations do involve increasing complexity, and divorces involving military personnel certainly fall into that category. There are issues specific to military life, particularly the pay and benefits structure, that make military divorce unique. 

In many military divorce cases, the first challenge can come from one of the spouses being on active duty overseas. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows a service member to request a delay in divorce proceedings if they happen to be on active duty when the papers are served. This works in reverse as well, so if a deployed person files for divorce, they can ask for a stay while they fulfill their active duty. 

Military service also complicates matters related to child support and spousal maintenance, because military pay and benefits, including housing, are allotted based on the number of family members. As a result, pay generally decreases after a divorce, so that pay decrease needs to be factored into judgments related to the financial support of the former spouse and children after the divorce. 

In addition, divorce has an effect on the division of military pensions and benefits. Retirement benefits have to be recalculated, and there has to be a calculation of benefits earned during the marriage, both so that adjustments can be made after the divorce and so each spouse receives the appropriate share of benefits earned during the marriage. 

Divorce is complex no matter who is involved, but because the situations of military personnel and their spouses involve additional considerations, it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience in these matters. Contact the Twin Cities divorce lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart for the guidance you need.

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