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Military vs Civilian Divorce LawsFiling for, and obtaining a divorce is certainly no picnic or walk in the park. Now, if you are one of the fine men or women that serve this county, the process becomes a little trickier to navigate. Knowing all of the laws, having proper documentation, and even knowing where and when to file, can be hard for anyone. Throw in the possibility of being overseas on active duty, or being home for only short periods of time, the whole process becomes even harder to complete. The law protects those who serve this country in a multitude of ways, and the area of divorce is no different.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
In 2003, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ( SCRA) was adopted. This act means that military members have legal protection from divorce proceedings that are not established for civilians. Under the SCRA,  military members are protected from lawsuits, including divorce proceedings, so they can properly focus on their duties to the country and their assigned tasks at hand. Due to this, a court can delay legal proceedings for the time that the servicemember is on active duty and for up to 60 days following active duty.

Serving Petitions
If the spouse of a military member is the one filing for and obtaining the petition for divorce, then the active duty spouse must be served with a petition for divorce in order for a state court to have jurisdiction over the military member. Now, this does become a little complex if said spouse is on active duty overseas. This being said, you will be hard pressed to find a court or judge willing to serve papers overseas. Waiting until the spouse returns home is usually the course of action.

Now, for most military families this can be a particularly tricky area when it comes to divorce. Many military couples are often on the move due to the nature of the military business. This being said, most states will allow a military member or their spouse to file for divorce in the state that the military member is stationed. This is a big difference from the law aimed at non military couples, which states that residency must be proved for a certain amount of days in that state, in order to file. It would not matter if neither is a legal resident of the state, military members and their spouses may file in the state where the filing spouse currently resides, where the military spouse is stationed, or where the military spouse claims a form of residency. These adjustments make military divorces a little easier to finalize.

Child Support & Property
There is an essence of added protection for anyone going through a divorce in the military with children. Unlike a civilian divorce, if you divorce a member of the military and they do not follow court orders pertaining to child support, you can go to their commanding officer to claim the funds. The money is then typically taken out of the military spouses wages. However, proper proof of neglect must be shown before any action will be taken through the military ranks. All division of property follows the laws and guidelines of the state in which the divorce was filed. Property refers to all assets owned by the military spouse, barring the military pension.

Divorce has unfortunately become part of society; something we are no longer shocked to hear of. Military marriages are no different. In fact, the added pressure of time apart and the duties and responsibilities that come with the job add to divorce rates. Knowing all of the important facts and information about how military divorce differs from  a civilian divorce is important for anyone who falls under the category. Know what you are entitled to, and how to go about receiving it.

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