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Service Member Divorce: What You Need to Know

When a service member gets divorced, unique issues arise that would not occur during a civilian divorce. This is why it is important to understand the complexities of a military divorce. The more you know, the more smoothly your divorce will go. Below, we explain how military divorce is different from a traditional divorce.

Does it Matter What State I File for Divorce In?

Typically, the person filing for the divorce will choose the state they reside in. However, before you file your divorce, you should determine how the state handles the division of military pensions. According to Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), the state that is the legal residence of the military member has the power to divide a military pension in a divorce. This means that if you were to file in a state where the military member doesn’t legally reside, the court might not have the power to divide the pension. It should also be noted that some states have additional laws that can affect the division of a military pension. You should speak with an experienced lawyer to get more information about how state laws can impact a service member divorce.

Can a Divorce be Slowed Down by a Service Member?

Usually when on spouse is served with divorce papers, they have a specific number of days to file a formal response before the divorce can move forward. However, under the Service members Civil Relief Act, normal court schedules and deadlines can be changed if one party is on active duty. If their duties prevent them from participating in or responding to the court action, active-duty service members can request a delay to the divorce proceedings or other claims, like spousal support, custody, child support, property division, and military pension division.  

Do you have more questions about service member divorce? Contact our Des Moines team of military divorce attorneys to find out how we can assist you today.

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