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How is a military divorce different from a civilian one?

Military personnel stationed here in Texas -- or their spouses who live in the state -- might be contemplating ending their marriages. However, the military divorce process might intimidate them because they believe that it is more complicated than a civilian divorce. Fortunately, military divorces are not more complex than civilian ones, but there are certain issues facing soldiers and their families that are not a consideration for those who do not serve.

For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides that a divorce cannot be initiated against a solder on active duty. Further, the issue of jurisdiction is not as cut and dry as it is for civilians. Generally, military personnel and their spouses have three choices regarding jurisdiction for the divorce.

The divorce can be filed where the filing spouse resides, which is how civilian divorces are filed. However, even if neither spouse is a resident of a state, proceedings may be filed where the service member is stationed. Finally, the divorce can be filed in the state in which the military member retains legal residency. The manner in which military pensions and other benefits are divided in a divorce is also unique. There are also subtle differences in how child support and alimony are handled.

Certain protections are in place for military personnel who are facing divorce, but they are also subject to additional duties to their former spouses and children. Because a military divorce is subject to both state and federal laws, it would not be a good idea to attempt to handle the proceedings alone. If an issue is not appropriately handled, it could cause problems in the future. Therefore, if the divorce is to take place here in Texas, it would be advantageous to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who is familiar with military divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce", Accessed on Oct. 16, 2016

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