Divorcing a military spouse who is stationed overseas can be a complex and challenging process, but it is possible. Here are some general steps to help guide you through the process:
- Consult with Legal Assistance: It’s highly advisable to seek legal counsel early in the process. Contact the nearest military legal assistance office or consult with a civilian attorney who specializes in military divorces. They can help you understand the specific laws and regulations that apply to your situation.
- Residency Requirements: Determine the residency requirements for filing for divorce. Each state in the United States has different rules about when and how you can file for divorce, and you may need to meet certain residency requirements to file in a specific state. Your attorney can help you navigate this.
- Service of Process: You’ll need to serve divorce papers to your spouse who is overseas. The military has specific procedures for service of process, and your attorney can help you with this. You may need to use international service of process methods, which can take longer.
- Child Custody and Support: If you have children, issues related to child custody and child support will need to be addressed. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) is a federal law that helps determine which state has jurisdiction over these matters.
- Division of Assets and Debts: Work out the division of marital assets and debts. Depending on your circumstances, this may involve military benefits, such as the division of the Service member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or the division of a military pension.
- Military Benefits: Be aware of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), which governs the division of military benefits in divorce. You may be entitled to a portion of your spouse’s military pension, among other benefits. Your attorney can guide you on this.
- Negotiation and Settlement: If possible, try to negotiate a settlement with your spouse. This can save time, money, and emotional stress. Mediation or collaborative divorce may be options to consider.
- Court Proceedings: If you cannot reach an agreement, the divorce may proceed to court. This process can be complicated, especially if your spouse is stationed overseas.
- Finalize the Divorce: Once the court grants the divorce, make sure to obtain a copy of the divorce decree, as this document will be important for various purposes, including updating legal and financial records.
- Notify the Military: If applicable, notify the military of the divorce. This is important for purposes like updating military ID cards, health benefits, and housing.
- Follow-up with Legal Assistance: Continue to work closely with your legal counsel throughout the entire process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that your rights and interests are protected.
Remember that military divorces can be more complex than civilian divorces due to the unique aspects of military life. It’s crucial to have an experienced attorney who is well-versed in military divorce law to guide you through the process. Additionally, laws and regulations may change, so it’s important to consult with an attorney who is up to date with the latest legal developments.
At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work. Contact us for a consultation at (314) 314-5505.