Military Divorce - What You Need to Know

Married life for military couples can be incredibly stressful. Between deployments, frequent moves, and the chaos of managing your children’s lives, a lot of strain is placed on the relationship. Divorcing military couples generally have the same procedures as civilian couples with a few exceptions which can depend on how long you were married. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of getting divorced as a military couple.

  • Former Spouse Protection Act: This law allows for military retirement and pensions to become part marital assets. It also allows states to consider retired military pay as property instead of income. To qualify for retirement payments, you must have been married for at least 10 years for at least 10 years of military service.
  • Civil Relief Act: The civil relief act allows service members called to active duty to “stay” civil and family courts if they can prove their deployment prevents them from exercising their legal rights. This means your divorce proceedings, child custody, child support, and spousal support determinations could be placed on hold until your spouse returns from deployment.
  • 20/20/20 rules: For military couples, the duration of your marriage is a determining factor regarding medical benefit eligibility. Under the 20/20/20 rule, a former spouse who has never remarried can receive medical commissary, exchange and theater privileges if their spouse was in the military for 20 years and the spouse was married to the military member for at least 20 years.
  • Service members responsible for supporting their children: Military branches have regulations in place that obligate military service member pay support to their children until a specific court order can be determined.

If you are considering divorcing your military spouse or you are a military service member thinking of divorcing your civilian spouse, our Annapolis military divorce attorney can advise you of your legal options.

Call (410) 593-0040 to start your case today!

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