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Divorce and the Military: What You Need to Know

 

We constantly look with respect towards our military personnel. Some of these brave men and women sacrifice everything to protect the very rights and freedoms we hold dear in this great nation. We often forget that after, before, and during their active duty, these men and women also juggle personal lives. Relationships, finances, and happiness are not put on hold while they serve our country.

There are also many factions of the military, having a family while being an active member or stationed somewhere can be a strain on one’s life. Being in a faction of the military adds extra rules and restrictions to a person’s life. When it comes to divorce in the military there may be some stipulations different from regular citizenship. Knowing your situation and how the divorce process pertains to it will help ease this stressful process.

Residency Requirements and the USFSPA

Legally speaking, divorce applies the same way it does to any other non-military citizen. However, when it comes to residency issues when applying for divorce, many states will relax some of the residency requirements and stipulations allowing for active military personnel that are stationed around the country and remote places to file for a divorce in the place they are stationed.

Besides knowing the divorce process, military couples should understand and be knowledgeable about the United Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This s a federal stature implemented for military personal that is a guide for potential divorce couples that have either one, or both, members in the military. It says that the divorcing spouses should look to accept the state’s specific divorce rulings and laws on specific issues in the dissolution of a marriage. Mainly child support, spousal support, and military/retirement pension plans. One important USFSPA stature is that, while states have always viewed retirement and pension plans as like any other marital asset, the USFSPA allows states to classify military retirement pay as property instead of income.

Pensions and Retirement: How Military Benefits are Handled in Divorce

Retirement payments through the military are paid directly through the Defense Accounting and Finance Service. For an ex-spouse to be eligible to receive retirement payments, the couple must have been married 10 years combined with an overlapping 10 years of military service. For example, if a couple have been married 14 years and 8 of those years either of the spousal parties have served in the military, then the ex-spouse would not be eligible to receive retirement payments.

Another situation to watch for is how different states view the amount of time a marriage has been deemed to last. Depending on the states view of when the dissolution of a marriage happened, it may change the length of official time your marriage has lasted for and, consequently, could possibly change what benefits you or your spouse are eligible for. However, not being eligible for direct payment as an ex-spouse does not necessarily mean you may not be entitled to a portion. Throughout the divorce proceedings, an agreement can be reached by the divorcing parties to divide a retirement/pension. Usually the awarding of retirement military pay may be in addition to child support or spousal support.

No matter the external situation in a couple’s life, divorce can cause major upheaval. With so many specific laws pertaining to where you are and how long you have been married, it is important to know the rules and regulations that may influence your divorce. At MyDivorceDocuments, we can provide insightful information to help you understand exactly what challenges, legal or otherwise you could possibly face throughout the divorce process. Visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com today and arm yourself with the knowledge that can lessen your stress about going through the divorce process.

Divorce, Separation, & Annulment

 

When a dissolution of marriage is at hand, couples often struggle to weigh their options as far as how to handle all aspects of the situation. There are a number of different options to chose from, but all is dependent on the terms on which the spouses are ending their marriage, how the marriage itself occurred, and when.

When couples decide to end their relationships, they usually have three choices: file for divorce, become legally separated, or get an annulment. However, couples usually do not know the difference between each option, or the advantages and the disadvantages. Here is a brief overview of the three marriage dissolution options.

Divorce
Divorce, or the dissolution of a marriage, is the legal process in which spouses legally terminate their marital union. Under the law, this means the spouses are agreeing to relinquish themselves from the rights and responsibilities of marriage.

Along with this official divorce procedure, there are many issues the couple must address. These issues include, but are not limited to: child custody, child support, division of assets, division of debt, and spousal support.

Each state has its own specific and unique divorce laws and has different residency requirements. Conventional divorces (those not done online) typically take around six months to be finalized. When a couple finalizes a divorce, each party is no longer liable for any future debt of the other spouse and no longer has to equally share their income and profits with the other spouse.

Legal Separation

Legal separation, also known as a judicial separation, is a legal process in which a married couple formalizes their separation but remain legally married. This often occurs before the finalization of a divorce. Legal separations are granted only through a court order in the county of the state in which the spouses reside. When a couple files for a legal separation, they address the same issues as in a divorce, such as child custody and spousal support.

One of the benefits of a legal separation is that certain rights are not eliminated, such as access to social security and medical benefits, which is why many couples choose to take this option. Another advantage is that a legal separation does not take long to finalize. In addition, if a couple decides to move forward with a divorce, the court will use the separation agreement as a template for the divorce settlement agreement. However, each state varies in their laws regarding legal separations.

Annulment

An annulment is very similar to a divorce in that it does indeed dissolve a marriage. But, an annulment differs from a divorce in that a judge will proclaim the marriage null and void. In other words, the marriage is considered to be invalid from the inception and there is no legal record of its existence. To be granted an annulment, the parties must have legal grounds for an annulment; again, these legal grounds vary depending on the state. Grounds for an annulment include: fraud, concealment, inability to consummate the marriage, or a marital misunderstanding. A religious annulment differs from a civil annulment in that each religion has their specific grounds for annulment, which also varies upon religion.