3 Things To Remember When Going Through A Military Divorce

If you are in the armed services, you may not be aware that going through a divorce won't be the same as if you were a civilian. There are certain things to keep in mind to make sure that your interests are protected and that you comply with laws in place for military members. Here are some things to remember if you are going through a military divorce.

Get a Lawyer Before Addressing a Divorce Petition

If your current spouse files for divorce, they are likely to do so wherever they live with no regard to wherever you may be serving. You are required to respond to that petition, but it is critical that you make an attempt to have your divorce processed in a state where your rights are most protected. Without a good lawyer, it may be difficult for you to know what state that is, since every state's divorce laws are different. An attorney can help you select the right state to go through this process. If you are on duty, you may be worried about answering your spouse's petition. But according to the SCRA, some court proceedings can put on hold to accommodate your situation.

Be sure to retain an attorney who is well-versed in military family law, so that they understand the issues at play and can help you navigate the process without problems. Talk with a professional, like Law Offices of Peter Napolitano & Wayne Hibbeler, for more information.

Keep the Survivor Benefit Plan

Your current spouse may be seeking the proceeds of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). That is a program that pays them benefits in the event of your death. However, it is important to know that if you get married again and your ex has your SBP, your second spouse will not be allocated those funds at all.

Because of that, it is generally preferable to try to make an arrangement with your soon to be ex-spouse so they do not have access to your SBP. For instance, you may opt to give them your life insurance proceeds or other benefits.

Keep Time Requirements in Mind

As an active member of the military, it is vital that you know that there are some time requirements that have to be met before your medical coverage can be given to an ex-spouse or your pension is able to be divided. These time requirements might affect when you file a petition for divorce, since you want to have some leverage and things to negotiate with as you try to settle with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Now that you know some things to do if you are getting a divorce and are actively serving in the military, use the tips above to help you. Make sure to work closely with an expert in military divorce so that you can do everything correctly.