Divorce is never easy, no matter how amicable the split, but divorce when one or both parties are in the military can be extraordinarily complicated. It’s not uncommon for a couple to have married in one state, be from two different states, be stationed in Virginia, and own property in yet another state. While divorce is handled by civilian courts in the state of residency, there are state and federal laws that matter in Military Divorce cases. Here are some of the questions we hear most often from military members and their spouses:
Why should I get an attorney?
The law center at Joint base Langley –Eustis provides an online document about divorce and separation in Virginia that answers some questions, but they strongly recommend that the military member(s) consult a civilian attorney. Issues such as a deployment, child custody, and access to benefits are complex and it’s vitally important that both parties in the divorce have counsel that understands the specific laws pertaining to the military.
What are the key laws that affect divorce for members of the military and their spouses?
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) are the key federal laws that apply to military divorce. Both are complex, and it’s important to have expert legal counsel to ensure that both parties’ legal rights are met and that any children involved are fully protected.
What is the residency requirement for divorce in Virginia?
The military member or spouse must reside in Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce, or be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Obviously there are sometimes situations (such as being stationed overseas or being deployed) that make the residency issue more complex. If you have questions about the residency requirement, contact us for guidance.
Here at the Law Firm of Miller, Walsh, Kutz & Laster, PLLC we have years of experience helping both military members and civilian spouses through the divorce process. If you are in need of legal counsel, please contact us via email, or call us at 757-595-0123.