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What should I know about a military divorce?

Members of the military who call Maryland home sometimes come to the state married. Some of those military members won’t head off to their next duty station with that same marital status. Getting a divorce while you are in the military involves some special considerations, but it isn’t necessarily any more complicated to go through once the process is started.

Where should I get divorced?

Many members of the military have two addresses. One is a home address in the state in which they pay taxes. The other is usually the address where they are stationed. In the case of a military divorce, the location where you would file is the jurisdiction in which you have legal residence. In most cases, this is where your permanent address is located, which is where you pay taxes. Special residency requirements might apply for military members in some jurisdictions, but learning about those prior to filing for divorce is vital.

Is my divorce governed by federal law or state law?

Military divorces are governed by federal and state laws, depending on the facet of the divorce. Pension division, for example, is governed by federal laws. Spousal support is governed by state laws. For that reason, anyone in the military should work to understand which laws will affect which facets of the divorce.

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

In some cases, the military member might not be the person who files for divorce. When that occurs, the service member might be able to halt the divorce because of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The SCRA prohibits military members from being sued for divorce while on active duty. That protection extends to 60 days after the active duty period ends. The SCRA is at the discretion of the court.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Divorce,” accessed Aug. 08, 2015

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