Family and Divorce

Divorce Involving Military Personnel

Divorce Involving Military Personnel

After October 2001, when combat in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the U.S. the Defense Department noted and got concerned over the rate of divorce involving military personnel suddenly increased.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted to the deployment of more than 2 million American service men and women to these two countries – to search for the brains behind the 9/11 attack. Due to the long deployment, however, the most common effect was a decision and move by civilian spouses to divorce their military partner.

It was also noted by the Defense Department that the rate of divorce among military couples increased steadily from 2001 to 2011 – the beginning and the duration of the Afghan operations. Divorce was higher between couples who were childless and who got married before 2001. Studies sponsored by the Department of Defense somehow manifested that civilian spouses who were married to service men/women after 2001were more prepared to accept the consequences of being married to a military personnel, and that includes long deployments when called to active duty, as well the risk of being a casualty of war.

Even if one of the spouses in a divorce case is a military personnel, the divorce process will still have to be governed (largely) by state laws and procedures. There are some states, though, that consider certain military regulations and federal statutes in a divorce process, such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. The Act is about division of military retired pay, medical assistance and other benefits.

It is explained by a San Antonio Military Divorce Attorney from the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht that “Military divorces are subject to greater scrutiny and regulation than their civilian counterparts. While regular divorce only falls under the state’s jurisdiction, a military divorce will be looked at by both state and federal courts. There are special rules and requirements that make a military divorce a substantially different experience than a non-military one. For example, one may have to travel back to their home of record for a court to be able to grant a divorce, while civilians can just travel to the court where they live. To this end, the effect such a divorce has on one’s life also varies from those going through a traditional divorce, and can also introduce overwhelming stress and hardship.

There are also highly specific factors involving military divorces, such as GI bill benefits, military pensions, and military health insurance. Thus, for a more guaranteed smooth transition into your new life, you may require professional and knowledgeable legal representation from an attorney who is familiar with both state and military divorce laws. This just means that you should not enter divorce proceedings unprepared — hire a knowledgeable military divorce attorney to represent you.

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Divorce – Mediation

Take away the complexity of the divorce process, what remains can be an emotional and demoralizing experience heard and decided by a judge in a court where anyone can sit in to witness the whole procedure. But besides the divorce process itself, there are also the many other issues, such as spousal support, division of assets, properties and debts, and child custody, child support and visitation rights, which can be equally stressing, especially if one spouse would try to prove that the other is an unfit parent to the child.

It cannot be argued that it would require court hearings in order to settle some divorce cases, specifically those wherein divorcing couple could not agree and choose not to give in to each other’s demands or wishes. Once a divorce case is filed in a court, however, couples should know that when a judge makes his/her decision, such is final, whether or not any of the spouses finds it agreeable (a court decision may be changed by a judge, though, after the party requesting for a change is able to present new evidences that will substantiate his/her claim. One example is a request for an increase in the amount of child support due to a promotion, and a considerable increase in the salary, of the obligor or non-custodial parent).

There are divorcing couples, though, who choose to maintain the privacy of their marital problems and prefer to make their own decisions on all matters that they need to settle. Towards this means of settling divorce the BB Law Group PLLC, explains in its website the (now popular) process called mediated divorce and why spouses should opt for it instead.

In mediated divorce the spouses may still choose to be represented by their respective lawyers. There is a need, however, for a mediator (chosen by the spouses themselves), who will guide the spouses through all issues. Though offering his or her opinion at times may be done by the mediator, he/she can never impose anything on the divorcing couple.

Mediation is designed to allow couples arrive at decisions that would be most agreeable to them in all the issues that they need to settle. And, not only are the spouses encouraged to settle everything amicably, but the whole process becomes less painful and stressful for them too. Mediation, likewise, reduces cost (since it may last only hours unlike a court proceeding, which can take weeks or months), ensures confidentiality (as everything that transpires is made and known only by the spouses and the mediator; there are no spectators, unlike in a court setting), and guarantees compliance of the spouses (since the decisions were products of mutual consent).

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