military divorce

How Do I Divorce My Military Spouse Who is Stationed Overseas?

State courts govern matters related to marriage and divorce. However, military personnel has special protections under federal law as well as special considerations about property, income, marital support, child custody, and benefits. It is best to work with an Auburn, Alabama divorce attorney who is familiar with these complicating factors if one or both spouses are in the armed forces.

For instance, many service members don’t know that they can file for and process a divorce while they are deployed or stationed abroad. Also, a spouse can file for and process a divorce when the other partner is stationed abroad on military duty.

The rights of military personnel in divorce and custody matters are protected by the Service Members Civil Relief Act while they are deployed overseas for missions or training. AL courts have the option to delay divorce proceedings until the spouse on duty overseas returns to the US and can appear in court on their own behalf.

But the active-duty spouse can waive this protection and proceed with the divorce, even if they are not in the country.

Requirements for Filing an Auburn Military Divorce

Irrespective of your military service status and Alabama divorce follows state law with certain exceptions. Under Alabama law, one spouse should have resided in the state for a minimum of six months to be able to initiate divorce proceedings here. The spouse seeking divorce may include in their petition a request for asset and debt distribution, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and any other requests.

The plaintiff must attempt to notify the other party of the divorce action after filing the petition. If the location of a spouse is unknown, the petitioning party will fill out a summons and file it with the court. If and when the other partner reverts, the divorce proceeds. Each party will work towards a marital settlement agreement, irrespective of whether the divorce is uncontested or contested.

In a majority of cases, one spouse will engage an Alabama divorce lawyer to prepare the paperwork required to file the divorce. The other partner should also work with an attorney to ensure that the final divorce settlement is fair. Speak to a seasoned Auburn military divorce attorney today to understand your legal options.

Protection from Default

You are stationed abroad serving our nation, and your spouse has filed a divorce petition. You cannot defend yourself and are even unable to consult a lawyer. Fortunately, the Service Members Civil Relief Act has made provisions that allow the domestic relations judge to stay any proceedings until you are back from duty. As an active military service member, this is your choice. But it is a good idea to notify the court and ask for a stay. Our Alabama military divorce lawyers can help you with this request.

Military Retirement Distribution

A common question in any divorce case is how the partners will divide the marital assets, which refers to anything of value that the spouses own in the marriage, such as property, vehicles, frequent-flyer miles, and retirement accounts. As the retirement account typically represents the single largest investment of a couple, it often becomes the focal point during negotiations on how to distribute marital assets.

Generally, Alabama divorce laws dictate that the military retirement benefits in a divorce are divide up as part of child support, alimony, or as part of the couple’s marital property.

Military Child Support and Alimony

The Alabama Child Support Guidelines are used to determine child support due in a military family. The sole restriction is that any combined alimony and child support payments cannot be greater than 60 percent of the service member’s total gross pay.

Divorcing a Member of the Military

If you are married to an armed services member and seek a divorce, you will need to have them personally served with the divorce papers. While this is challenging, it can be done. After the papers are served, the service member can seek a stay on the divorce proceedings until 60 days after they have returned to the US from active duty.

For example, ex-spouses can receive commissary privileges and medical privileges for life if the spouse was married to the service member during at least 20 years of their military service. However, these privileges do not continue upon remarriage.

Hire a Skilled Auburn, AL Military Divorce Lawyer Today

In divorce cases, communication is always challenging. When one spouse is deployed abroad, it can be even more difficult. The attorneys at the Alsobrook Law Group will make this process as seamless and efficient as possible.

During this difficult time, we are committed to providing you support and the encouragement to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. To schedule a private, no-obligation consultation about your military divorce matter, contact us today at (334) 737-3718.