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Is There A Difference Between Civilian And Military Divorce



The differences between civilian and military divorces are centered on jurisdiction and legal service of the divorce petition. Family courts normally allow for the filing of a divorce in the state where either the husband or wife maintains a legal residence.

Civilian Divorce

In civilian divorces, each state establishes residency requirements. If you have decided to file for divorce, you should hire a divorce lawyer who can explain the requirements in your state. Your divorce lawyer divorce lawyer will prepare the necessary divorce documents, file them with the court and have a copy served on your spouse. Your spouse must respond by filing an answer within a certain number of days. Your divorce lawyer will assist you throughout the divorce process including settlement hearings, mediation or trial.

It is not necessary to specify reasons for a divorce. Lengthy separation is a common reason. Each state has certain time frames regarding separation periods. Both spouses must demonstrate to the court that they have not had a physical relationship and have not lived together during that period. Abandonment is another common reason for divorce. If abandonment is alleged in the petition, both spouses must demonstrate that they have not lived together as a married couple for an extended period of time. Although adultery is sometimes alleged, it is difficult to prove. In most states, alimony or spousal support is not awarded to a spouse who has committed adultery.

Military Divorce

If you are divorcing a member of the military, it is important to understand how your state handles the division of military pensions, retirement funds and benefits. Federal laws have been enacted to govern the division of military pensions. According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act referred to as the USEPSA, the state where the military member resides always has the power to divide military pensions in divorce proceedings. As in a civil divorce, your spouse must be served with a copy of the divorce petition and must respond within a certain time limit. The "Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," referred to as the SCRA, can allow an extension if your spouse is on active duty. The court can delay proceedings during a military divorce if your spouse is deployed during a war or is stationed overseas. You may need to wait until your spouse returns to the area before beginning the divorce process. This is in your best interest in so far as obtaining a fair distribution of military pensions, benefits and assets.

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