Because of the demands and unique nature of military life, often times a different set of legal rules and procedures govern than those used in the civilian legal system. For example, federal law controls military pension plans, particular child support guidelines, and military workers compensation. Consequently, an attorney that is familiar with both civilian and military law is invaluable to those in military families.
Divorce and the Military
Actually filing for a divorce may be more difficult than if done under civilian conditions, because of the geographical obstacles. Jurisdiction or residency requirements for divorce, child support, and custody are usually determined by where you permanently reside and not where you are stationed.
Divorce and the Affects on My Spouse's Military Status
In most cases a divorce results in the loss of military entitlements such as ID cards, base housing, healthcare and insurance to the non-military spouse.
Will Military Service Interfere with my Legal Rights?
Many military servicemen fear that their legal rights may be compromised because of the demanding requirements of military life. However, military servicemen are afforded additional protections in order to safeguard their legal interests. Some of the most important are:
- If military service prevents the servicemen from actively participating and preparing his legal case, then a stay (or delay) will be granted. The stay is generally the time in service plus 60 days
- If the serviceman is absent, counsel must be appointed on their behalf to request a stay
- A judgment or wage garnishment can be stayed if military service materially affects compliance
- Servicemen always have the ability to reopen any default judgment if he or she can prove that:
- There was no appearance in court
- There is a legal defense that he or she can assert but was not given the chance to
- Service affected his/her ability to assert the defense
Do I Need an Attorney Specializing in Military Law?
Because of the special circumstances of military life, it may be wise to consult with a family attorney who is familiar with both civilian and military law. Speaking with the proper attorney will inform you of your rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have.