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Monday Oct 03, 2022

Difference Between a Military and Civilian Divorce

It could surprise you that we have military divorce attorneys and civilian attorneys. These lawyers perform similar roles, with the former having more knowledge of handling divorces involving military personnel. Yet, their services have helped revolutionize the legal system. Understanding the difference between military and civilian divorces could help you know when to hire a military divorce attorney.

Where You File Your Divorce

A civilian divorce requires that you file your divorce in your current state. Depending on the state, the spouse seeking this divorce will first need to acquire an initial document called a divorce petition or complaint. You can only access this document from the state court. Some states have a circuit or superior court to file the case and get it heard. Remember, you’ll need to prove your state residency.

On the other hand, military personnel are hardly stationed in a particular region. Moving around often implies that there can never be a permanent place where the couple can file for divorce. Fortunately, an excellent divorce attorney will help find a suitable location for both parties. This professional will review all the military bases where you are stationed, choosing the most convenient for both parties. A neutral place could also come in handy.

Spousal Support

A military divorce requires that a spouse supports you up to a specific level. However, these military guidelines are temporary, allowing the spouses to pursue various avenues to settle the matter. Suppose a military spouse is unwilling to support you during the divorce proceedings. In this case, you can contact the service member’s commander, highlighting your plight. This move will help facilitate seamless support in the long run.

On the other hand, civilian marriages are not tied to specific spousal support guidelines during a divorce proceeding. The court will not set a time limit on spousal support. That means each spouse is free to support or not support the other, out of their volition. However, naturally, it will be fair to support and pay for the child’s upkeep. A higher-earning spouse will also need to support the other after divorce.

Dependent Allotments

A military divorce provides a dependent allotment, depending on the marriage of the service member and the number of children. The idea is to ensure that all dependents get the support they need, including maintaining a specific lifestyle after divorce. Notably, the military expects service members to comply with these support orders. However, the military might not arrange for an exact amount to pay a civilian spouse and children.

In a civilian divorce, the court will set the alimony. Courts consider various aspects when calculating this amount, including how property is divided, length of the marriage, the spouses’ income, the standard of living during the marriage, and their age or health. Spousal support is designed to cushion a divorcee from running into financial oblivion immediately after divorce, which is a temporary measure.

The 20/20/20 Rule

Military marriages depend on the 20/20/20 rule. That means the military will cut off a civilian spouse from military benefits immediately after the divorce. However, there are three exceptions: the marriage lasted for at least 20 years, the service member was in the military for 20 years, and the marriage overlapped with military service for over 20 years. Contrarily, a civilian marriage is not tied to these rules. Instead, this civilian marriage will end once various divorce grounds are made.

Military and civilian divorce proceedings are eerily similar. However, a few distinguishing factors mean that you need to get a knowledgeable divorce attorney when necessary. An experienced and specialized professional would be perfect! The insights above help understand this better.

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