How Does Military Divorce Work?
Married military couples face much of the regular stressors that civilian couples face, plus some. Unfortunately, sometimes these marriages just don't work out, and problems can grow beyond repair. If this has happened to your marriage, you're likely wondering how a military divorce works in Georgia. The good news is that they work nearly the same as a civilian divorce. When you have an experienced Suwanee divorce lawyer by your side, they will protect your rights and walk you through every step of this sometimes-confusing process.
Military Divorce Laws
Typically, getting a divorce in the military is the same as any other divorce in your state of residence. Military members or spouses can file for divorce in three possible places, the state where the:
- Filing spouse lives
- Military member is stationed
- Military member has residency
Only one of the spouses must be a Georgia resident for a minimum of six months before filing in the state. If either spouse lives on a military base, the requirement becomes one year.
As with a civilian divorce, once the dissolution of marriage paperwork is filed, the non-filing spouse has time to respond. In fact, under the Service members Civil Relief Act, military members have the right to delay court proceedings for up to 90 days if they can't respond or appear in court due to their military duties. Furthermore, family court judges can grant more than 90 days if they see fit.
Georgia spouses who file for divorce are required by law to cite one or more of the grounds for their divorce. However, certain processes and laws are unique to a military divorce. Discussing your case with a seasoned Suwanee divorce attorney can help you understand more about how the laws impact your specific circumstances.
Asset Division and Military Benefits
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) identifies what military benefits the non-military spouse can keep after the divorce. Although retirement pensions are divisible during a divorce, the act doesn't automatically entitle a former spouse to any of the military spouses' retirement funds. Under military laws, retirement pensions aren't categorized as income and fall instead under property. The USFSPA permits family courts to split military retirement pay as well as other property in a divorce.
Georgia's military divorce law permits non-military spouse qualifies to keep a portion of military benefits, including healthcare, if:
- The couple was married for a minimum of 20 years and
- The military spouse was active military also for a minimum of 20 years, and
- The 20 years overlapped at any point
In Georgia, the family courts get to decide child custody in all divorces. However, Georgia's Military Parents Rights Act helps military parents pursue custody of their children. Child custody in the military is different as the military spouse is often miles or even countries away from their children. Georgia's Military Parents Rights is a child custody guideline for military divorce courts, outlining:
- Keeping children in contact with a deployed parent
- How a deployed parent's time might be delegated to their extended family members
- How the parenting plan will resume when a deployed parent returns
A non-military parent can't legally use their spouse's military duty as the sole reason to request child custody modifications. Additionally, judges are also barred from issuing final custody orders while a military parent is currently deployed or within 90 days after they return.
Questions about Military Divorce? Meet with an Experienced Suwanee Divorce Lawyer Today
If you have questions about military divorce, our Suwanee divorce attorneys have answers. Schedule a no-obligation case consultation today by calling Banks, Stubbs & McFarland at 770.887.1209 or completing our online form.