In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Divorce may cause financial stress, so it’s a good idea to connect with a Military OneSource financial consultant for ways to keep your finances on track. People often confuse being separated with a legal separation. Written by the Carson Law Firm Military divorce differs from civilian divorce in many ways. Therefore, it is essential to hire a civilian divorce attorney who is an expert in local family law matters. You are about to leave the Military OneSource site. Typically, when one spouse serves divorce papers on the other partner, the latter has to respond in a certain time period. Being separated, or entering into a separation agreement, does not mean that a couple is no longer married, is “legally separated,” or “divorced.” It just means the couple is currently separated. a. They may want time to see how they do living apart or to seek counseling to save their marriage. The military member has performed at least 20 years of service that is creditable in determining eligibility for retired pay (the member does not have to be retired from active duty). But these couples also can face some unique challenges as well when it comes to careers. Advice on legal issues such as divorce and child custody, income taxes, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and more. The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense of non-U.S. With the right communications strategies and other techniques to balance work and family, dual-military marriages can thrive. But these couples also can face some unique challenges as well when it comes to careers. Family members and their property may be brought home at government expense before the service member's tour of duty ends. For divorce or legal separation situations that require representation in civil court or involve contested issues such as child custody, spousal/child support or division of assets like retirement pay, you’ll want to consult with a civilian attorney. OCONUS/International? However, military spouses have access to military legal assistance services at no cost through installation legal assistance offices. Entering your military marriage with realistic expectations can help prepare you for what's to come. A “legal separation” is a court order, which declares that a couple is legally and officially separated. State law and local procedures govern divorce, but there are certain federal statutes and military regulations that may apply to your divorce, depending on where you file. Legal assistance attorneys do not represent clients in court. Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to schedule an appointment with a Military OneSource consultant. Assignment of Military Couple to Isolated Duty Stations. A "stay" or postponement of a civil court or administrative proceeding is extended, if the service member proves he or she is unable to attend because of duty; or. Some things to consider when filing for divorce while living overseas include: If you or your spouse are considering divorce, a good first step is contacting your legal assistance office to better understand your situation. For example, military laws and Federal statutes will determine the division and/or distribution of military pay, military benefits (retirement and health), and certain types of property. An un-remarried former spouse may receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges under the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program and other benefits if he or she meets the requirements of what is known as the 20/20/20 rule: A divorce filed overseas can be complicated, as U.S. courts may not recognize a foreign divorce. ; Divorce Negotiation Online - You will be surprised how easy it is to resolve your disputes through our innovative Divorce Negotiation Center TM. Generally, the military views divorce as a private civil matter to be addressed by a civilian court. You are about to leave the Military OneSource site. Although military personnel and their family members have access to free legal services provided by the Judge’s Advocate General’s Corps (military officers who are also lawyers), military lawyers are not usually familiar with state divorce laws. You can ease the time, costs and heartache of a divorce by understanding what you need to consider as you go through the legal process. information, it does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these One key difference between civilian separations and military separations is that in most states, civilian spouses who are separated or legally separated can date someone other than their spouse without violating any laws. While military legal assistance attorneys may not be able to draft specific court documents or represent members or their families in court, they can provide helpful advice on a range of legal issues including divorce and child custody, income taxes and wills. Find programs and services at your local installation. Your installation legal assistance office can provide some of the following free services: Service members and their eligible family members also have access to legal advice at no cost through the installation legal assistance offices. Divorce laws allow service members and their spouses to file for divorce in either the state where the service member is currently stationed, the state where the service member claims legal residency or the state where the non-military spouse resides. Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) makes the act of adultery a crime if the following legal criteria are met: If you are in the military and you date someone other than your spouse while your divorce is pending or even after you are “legally separated,” you are risking criminal charges. Every state has its own unique set of divorce laws that govern divorce actions filed therein, so consulting with a JAG attorney will be of little use to a military member going through a divorce. The only sure way to avoid a criminal charge of adultery under the UCMJ is to wait until a state court grants you a final divorce decree, thereby making you “single” again. It’s important to note that in all of the above scenarios - a trial separation, a separation with a separation agreement, a legal separation, and even during a divorce proceeding - a couple is still legally married; the only way to end a marriage is to obtain a final divorce decree. This article explains the differences between these concepts and provides a basic overview of military divorce. Building Healthy Relationships offers flexible and free coaching sessions – on your own or as a couple. of Defense may or may not use these sites as additional distribution channels for Department of Defense Certain protections on default judgments for failure to respond to a lawsuit or failure to appear at trial are granted. Depending on service branch, the other married individual can see either another attorney in the same or different location. Military legal assistance offices can help with this. The assignment of married dual-military couples to isolated duty stations where an unaccompanied tour is directed may be authorized on a voluntary basis (except Diego Garcia) when in compliance with this article. Military divorce and separation issues are fairly complex because they may be governed by a combination of military codes, state divorce laws and Federal statutes. Couples that choose legal separation typically do so for religious reasons. However, under the SCRA: Military Legal Assistance Attorneys are available to help you understand the legal implications of your divorce. Similarly, if they have a “separation agreement,” it just shows that they are currently separated and have made some agreements to help spell out rights and responsibilities during this time period.