How do Military Divorces Differ from Civilian Divorces?January 15, 2019
While military divorces are worked through in civilian court, they require lawyers who understand unique military matters. Specifically, they must be experienced with military rules relating to child and spousal support, the division of military pensions and benefits, service of process, and requirements regarding residency and filing.
The Delaware County divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello are experienced in these matters, and provide safe, knowledgeable assistance in obtaining the divorce outcome you are looking for.
Federal and State Law Matters
Military divorce is subject to both state and federal law. On the federal side, laws will decide for you what jurisdiction the divorce will occur in. For example, while a service member may be stationed overseas or across the country, the default becomes the state in which they hold residence. Federal law also affects the way military pensions are split up.
Recognizing the complexities of the military life and changes in assignments, many states have eliminated or reduced residency requirements, allowing for filing where service members are stationed.
In general, service members and their spouses have three options:
- File in the state where the service member claims legal residency
- File in the state where the spouse claims residency
- File in the state in which the service member is stationed
Laws Specific to Service Members
The Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows service members to request a stay of any civil action, including divorce and child custody hearings, while they are on active duty, or within 90 days of their release from active duty.
At the discretion of the local Pennsylvania court, under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521, a postponement for the entirety of a service member’s active duty, and up to 60 days after, is a possibility. However, this right can be waived by any active duty service member seeking the divorce.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) states how Pennsylvania courts may categorize military retirement pay.
Child support and alimony awards are not to exceed 60% of a service member’s pay. Amounts are calculated using Pennsylvania child support guidelines.
Different, But Not Too Different
Military divorces work differently from civilian divorces, but you should not allow these minor differences to make a difficult moment in your life more complicated.
Delaware County Divorce Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Assist Active Service Members with Divorce
Divorce is never easy, especially when your family has made such sacrifices for the nation. When you need counsel that knows the ropes of military divorce, talk to a Delaware County divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. We have the compassion to appreciate your problem, plus the legal knowledge and experience to seek what is best for you and your family.
Call us today at 610-228-4376 or contact us online for a free consultation. We serve clients in Delaware County, Media, West Chester, and throughout the state of Pennsylvania including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, and Reading.