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Unique Issues of Military Divorce

Posted by attorney Charles Hofheimer

If you're facing a military divorce, find a Virginia Beach divorce lawyer who is familiar with the laws pertaining to the unique elements in these cases. Not all attorneys have experience litigating divorce cases for military couples, and legal help on base may not be easy to obtain.

People who serve our country in the armed forces put their all into it:

· long hours;

· unpredictable schedules; and

· some even suffer physical and mental injuries related to their active service.

These unique stresses are among the possible reasons the divorce rate is higher among military couples than it is among civilians.

Sometimes, of course, military service has little or nothing to do with the reasons for the couple's break-up. Some couples simply cease to get along and they suffer the same roadblocks and marital problems as civilian couples.

Your Lawyer Should be Familiar with Military Divorce

Regardless of the reason for the relationship's breakdown, military couples seeking a divorce will need to go through a slightly different process than the average civilian. That's because military divorce is governed not only by state laws, but by federal laws as well. These laws help set forth the rights and responsibilities that are unique to the parties involved.

For example, there's theUniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, which gives state courts authority to distribute military retired pay to former spouses of servicemembers. There's also the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) that can affect the way a military member responds to civil suits like divorce.

There are also many benefits that come with military service, and the families of service members enjoy these perks as well. That's why rights to military housing, ID cards that allow on-base privileges, and other benefits come up as concerns before and during a divorce.

Searching for Legal Services

A military member (or his or her spouse) may be under the impression that the legal services available through the job will be able to answer all questions about divorce and will handle the divorce case. Some even attempt to speak to their (or their spouse's) commanding officers for help with the divorce, but this course of action isn't considered appropriate and isn't effective.

The military considers domestic issues like divorce to be a private matter, and one that should be handled by the state courts. They will become involved in some aspects of domestic issues if necessary (like enforcing family support orders), but the divorce itself is not something with which they can be of much assistance.

The JAG (military legal office) can provide general information, but cannot file your legal documents or provide detailed, case-specific advice. This leaves many soon-to-be -divorced servicemembers and their spouses unsure about their rights and what to expect in the divorce. That’s why it's important to consult with an attorney who works with military clients and has an understanding of the federal laws involved in the process.

Contacting Divorce Lawyers

There are very specific rules governing divorce in Virginia. At Hofheimer/Ferrebee we are committed to providing you with the compassion you deserve and the results you need to move on with your life. Request a FREE copy of our divorce guide for women in Virginia, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar. Call a Virginia Beach divorce lawyer at 757-456-1574.

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