It is no secret that military couples face unique challenges that are not experienced by civilians. Aside from the pressures that come with any relationship, the military lifestyle can take a toll on couples and their families. Indeed, it is estimated by Military.com that as many as 21,000 military marriages end in divorce every year in America.
While there are many similarities between military and civilian divorces, there are also some unique and important differences. Below are three key differences between the two as well as a brief explanation to help your understanding.
Active Duty Deployment May Pause Divorce Proceedings
It is in the best interest of the United States government that its military personnel do not worry about a pending divorce case while on active duty deployment. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active duty service members have the right to several protections under federal law. Among other rights, service members have the ability to pause or postpone most judicial proceedings – including divorce cases – until deployment is over. Generally, a divorce hearing will be paused until the active duty member is able to return home and have a reasonable opportunity to address the issue at hand. Of note, the SCRA does not give a military member the right to prevent his or her spouse from seeking a divorce but, rather, allows the service member to delay hearings due to inability to attend.
Distribution of Assets and Military Benefits
Virtually all divorces involve heated disagreements when it comes to the distribution of assets. When it comes to military divorces, this issue becomes more complicated than in civilian divorces. This is because in certain scenarios military benefits are subjected to asset distribution during divorce. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), a military spouse may have the right to a portion of his or her partner’s military benefits. Examples of benefits to which a spouse may be entitled from his or her military partner include retirement benefits, medical coverage, and other military benefits – if certain criteria are met.
Georgia’s Residency Requirement for Service Members
Like most states across the country, in order to be eligible to file for a divorce in the state of Georgia, the individual must meet the state’s residency requirements. Georgia law requires at least one of the divorcing spouses to have been a resident of Georgia for at least six months. That being said, service members who are not Georgia residents but who are being stationed at a military base within the state – and have lived on the base for at least one year – meet the residency requirement necessary to file for divorce.
Get Help from Our Divorce Attorneys
At Moffitt Law, LLC, our experienced family law attorneys have the experience and knowledge to handle your military divorce case anywhere in the state of Georgia. Our attorneys can handle all aspects of family law including divorce, custody agreements, alimony, child support, and asset distribution. Contact us today to schedule your initial, confidential, case evaluation and learn about your rights and obligations under applicable state and federal laws.