Military divorces can be more complex than typical divorces. Members of the military and their spouses must adhere to rules and requirements specific to military divorces, so choose an attorney familiar with related laws. A Birmingham military divorce lawyer at Charlotte Christian Law can help. We remain current on military divorce laws to ensure our clients receive the best representation possible.
Table of Contents
- How does a military divorce differ from a civilian case?
- Divorce Laws in Alabama
- Protections for Military Members and Their Spouses
- Considerations When Choosing a Filing State
- How Our Birmingham Military Divorce Lawyers Can Assist With Your Divorce
- We Can Help With Child Support and Custody Agreements
- Types of Child Custody Agreements
- Frequently Asked Questions About Military Divorce
- Contact an Experienced Birmingham Military Divorce Lawyer at Our Firm Today
- Charlotte Christian Law Birmingham Office Location
How Does a Military Divorce Differ from a Civilian Divorce?
Military members and their spouses have unique circumstances that civilians usually don’t in divorce cases. The most significant difference is that these families may have to move around often. Certain rules also apply if the service member is on active-duty orders.
Other differences between military divorces and civilian divorces include:
- Protections for each party: The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects service members. Alternatively, former military spouses have protections through the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. Because of these protections, the divorce could take longer.
- The state parties can file for divorce: Each state has residency requirements to file for divorce, even for military members. Because military members move around often, it may be challenging to know where to file. You must meet the residency requirement for the state you choose to file.
- The length of marriage could influence the financial outcome: The service member’s spouse is entitled to more benefits if they have been married for at least 20 years, and the service member has been in the military for at least 20 years. If the military ex-spouse does not remarry, they could be entitled to commissary privileges and medical benefits for the rest of their life.
Because of these differences, you need to work with our Birmingham military divorce lawyers, because we routinely handle military divorces. Our attorneys understand the military divorce process and how it differs from civilian divorces.
Divorce Laws in Alabama
If you choose to get divorced in Alabama, you must adhere to the state’s divorce laws, such as:
You must meet Alabama’s residency requirement for the court to accept the case:
- The petitioner must be an Alabama resident for at least six months before filing for divorce.
- If the defendant is a nonresident, you must prove the other party is a bona fide resident for at least six months before filing.
- You can file for divorce in the county where the defendant resides or the county the party lived in during the marriage.
In many military divorces, service members and their spouses move out of state. Our attorneys can look at the circumstances to determine if you meet Alabama’s residency requirements to file for divorce in this state.
You Must Include Grounds For Divorce
When filing for divorce in Alabama, you have grounds for it. Grounds for divorce are the reasons why you are getting a divorce.
- If either party committed adultery
- If either party voluntarily abandoned the other for one year preceding the filing
- If either party goes to prison for two years with their sentence being more extended than seven years
- If either party committed a crime against nature
- If either party becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol
- If either party becomes confined to a mental hospital for five or more years
- If there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and further attempts for the couple to reconcile are not in the best interests of the family
- If the parties can no longer live together because of incompatibility
- If either party commits an act of violence against the other and it endangers their life or health
Regardless of why you are filing for divorce, our military divorce attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama can help. We can hear your side of the story to determine what grounds you have to divorce your spouse.
Required Waiting Period for the Divorce
In Alabama, AL Code § 30-2-8.1 requires a 30-day waiting period before a divorce is final. The waiting period starts the day you file for divorce. Divorces are one of the most stressful ordeals someone may go through in their entire life. For this reason, a waiting period is in place. It gives both parties time to cool off and determine if a divorce is the right decision.
After submitting all necessary paperwork, each party can take a step back and reflect on the relationship. Then, the courts could finalize the agreement once the 30-day waiting period has passed and both parties want to proceed with the divorce.
Our military divorce lawyers can prepare the necessary documents for the divorce during the waiting period. Once the waiting period has passed, there is a better possibility of a quick conclusion.
Restrictions on Remarriage
Once the court enters the judgment, neither party can marry for 60 days. The only exception is if they remarry each other. If either party files an appeal within the 60-day waiting period, neither party can remarry.
If a marriage occurs within the 60-day waiting period, the new union would be void unless it is to the person you just divorced. However, the new marriage would be valid if the wedding is performed legally in another state.
Protections for Military Members and Their Spouses
As mentioned, there are laws for military divorces to protect military members and their spouses. Protections for military members are through the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Protections are through Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act for military ex-spouses. Each act lists protections for military members and their spouses during a divorce.
The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives military members a range of legal protections. To be eligible for SCRA, you must be an active member of the military, a reservist, or on active duty as a national guard member. Active duty members are eligible for SCRA benefits the day they enter active duty status or 30 to 90 days after discharge.
The SCRA provides benefits outside of just divorces.
While on active duty orders, the SCRA could also protect you from:
- Being evicted
- Vehicle repossessions
- A storage facility selling your things
A spouse cannot take any legal action against a service member while on active duty or up to 60 days after the service ends, including divorce or matters relating to child custody. The military puts these laws in place to protect its members. However, it is also essential that the service member focuses on the task while on active duty.
Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act provides specific benefits to former spouses of military members.
Benefits to former spouses include:
- State courts can divide disposable military retired pay between the service member and their spouse.
- In some circumstances, the former spouse can receive a portion of the retirement income from the government.
- Former spouses could gain access to the military exchange or receive healthcare at military treatment facilities.
While the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act provides many protections, it does not require the courts to divide military pay. Therefore, our attorneys can advocate for you to receive military and retirement benefits after a divorce.
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Considerations When Choosing a Filing State
If you lived in several states during your military service, you could choose which state in which to file. Our attorneys can look at your residency status to determine the states where you would qualify to get divorced.
Going through a military divorce can create stress, so when choosing a filing state, consider:
- The costs of filing in one state over another
- The state where you have more family and friends to support you
- How the state laws impact the disbursement of assets
- How state laws may affect the timeline of the divorce
Our Attorneys Can Help You File in The Appropriate State
A Birmingham military divorce lawyer from Charlotte Christian Law can advise you on what state you choose to file. We look out for your best interests to reach a fair divorce agreement.
Each state has different divorce laws in place. Our attorneys can explain the state laws where you could reach the best outcome in your divorce.
How Our Birmingham Military Divorce Lawyers Can Assist With Your Divorce
When a military couple divorces, unforeseen complications can arise. That is why choosing a Birmingham divorce attorney who understands military divorce laws is essential.
If you hire our firm, we can:
- Represent you in all divorce hearings and mediations
- Prepare you for the process by explaining what you should expect and possible outcomes
- If negotiations become emotionally charged, we can advocate for you and maintain civility
- Create a draft of alimony agreements and lead negotiations to a fair deal
- Guide you through the process of asset division
Unfortunately, divorces are not always fair. At Charlotte Christian Law, we work tirelessly to protect you from an unfair divorce and are by your side from the start of your case until its resolution.
Our team offers a no-obligation consultation to potential clients thinking about getting divorced. In this meeting, we can answer your questions, so you can better understand your legal options moving forward.
We Can Help With Child Support and Custody Agreements
On top of representing you through a divorce, we can negotiate child support and custody agreements.
During the proceedings, we can:
- Advocate for your child’s best interests
- Use our negotiating power for fair custody arrangements and child support agreements
- Enforce child support payments by filing enforcement petitions if the other party isn’t paying
Types of Child Custody Agreements
Alabama recognizes several types of custody agreements so families can create a plan that works for them. The rights parents have to their children depend on the type of custody. Courts always look out for the child’s best interest when determining who gets custody. Our attorneys can advocate for you to get a fair custody agreement. Types of custody include physical, legal, sole, and joint custody.
Physical versus Legal Custody
Physical custody involves where the child will live and who the child’s caretaker is.
Legal custody involves making decisions for the child regarding their medical care, schooling, or religious upbringing.
Sole versus Joint Custody
Sole custody gives one parent the rights to the child.
- Sole legal custody: One parent makes all schooling, medical care, and religious decisions.
- Sole physical custody: The child lives with one parent. In some cases, the other parent may have visitation rights, but their primary residence is with one parent.
Joint custody is when both parents have rights to the child:
- Joint legal custody: Both parents have an equal right to making schooling, medical care, and religious decisions for the child.
- Joint physical custody: The child splits their time between each parent’s home.
Regardless of the type of custody you are seeking, we can help. First, our attorneys can develop a fair custody agreement to present to the other party. Then, if they disagree, we can negotiate the best deal for the children.
Frequently Asked Questions About Military Divorce
Those in the military or who have a spouse in the military and want to get a divorce often ask:
What Is the 10/10 Rule in the Military?
If you were married for 10 years and you or your spouse served in the military for a minimum of 10 years while married, then the former spouse may collect benefits from a pension via the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Can I Date if I Legally Separate From My Spouse?
No, you cannot date other people until your divorce finalizes.
Contact an Experienced Birmingham Military Divorce Lawyer at Our Firm Today
The courts can complicate the process of a military divorce. However, we can prepare for legal barriers that may arise if you or your spouse is in the military. Our Birmingham military divorce attorneys can guide you through the process so you understand your legal options. Then, we take care of the legal matter so you can focus on moving on.
Contact our firm online today or call . (256) 285-4412
We offer free, no-obligation consultations to military members and their spouses seeking a divorce. If you choose our firm, we can advocate for your best interests throughout the divorce proceedings. Our goal is to make your day better than yesterday.