If you are currently serving as an active member of the armed services and are about to get a divorce, you may not know that the process is slightly different than if you were a civilian. Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you need to deal with military divorce proceedings.
You Must Be Aware of Time Requirements
Because you are an active military member, you must adhere to certain time requirements before medical coverage and your pension are available to your current spouse. Checking those requirements might affect how soon or late you seek out a divorce, as you might want to use those benefits to negotiate with.
You Should Try to Keep the Survivor Benefit Plan
Your current spouse may seek to be the beneficiary of your Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). If that happens, when you pass away they will receive financial benefits. This can become a problem for you if you get married again in the future, as you cannot reassign the SBP; your second spouse will not get any of those benefits.
That's why it is a wise decision to make sure you hold on to your SBP in the divorce. If possible, try to give your current spouse life insurance or any other benefits you can offer.
You Need a Military Divorce Expert
When your spouse files for divorce, it is not unusual for them to do so in the state of their residence, although you may be doing active military service somewhere other than that. You are required to respond to their petition, but it's a good idea to secure a divorce lawyer with experience in military divorces before you do so. That's because each state has their own set of divorce laws and you need to do everything you can to make sure your divorce happens in a state with laws that are most fair for you. An experienced lawyer can help make that happen.
An expert in military family law can also help you with the unique military issues that may come up during your divorce proceedings, so be wary of choosing a lawyer recommended to you by friends and family unless you know they have experience with military marriages and divorces.
Use the information laid out in this article to help you get started with a military divorce. Work closely with your attorney, such as one from Law Offices of Peter Napolitano & Wayne Hibbeler, to determine how best to proceed so that you can negotiate a fair settlement for yourself.