How long a military divorce takes varies based on the circumstances of the two parties who are separating. The minimum waiting period for a divorce in the state of Alabama is 30 days.
Usually, divorces will take longer than this. If the two parties are agreeable, it is likely the divorce proceedings will be faster than if there is a lot of arguing back and forth.
If a service member gets deployed, the process can be delayed and take much longer. There are laws that prevent divorce proceedings from moving forward while a service member is unable to participate because of their military duty.
An Alabama military divorce attorney at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates can explain the specifics to you.
How a Military Divorce is Different From a Civilian Divorce
For the most part, military divorces are very similar to civilian divorces. Although, some differences can make military divorces more complicated than a civilian divorces.
Some differences include:
- Jurisdiction: For civilian divorces, jurisdiction is where one or both of the parties in the divorce live. With a military divorce, it is likely the couple has moved or not lived in the same residence for a long time. The courts have to determine who has jurisdiction in a military divorce.
- Residency: In Alabama, you must have been a resident of the state for 6 months. If the service member has not been stationed in Alabama for over 6 months, they need to file in the state where the filing spouse resides or where the military member claims legal residency. If the service member has been living in Alabama for over 6 months, the divorce can be filed in this state.
- Military benefits: Military pensions and benefits are subject to being divided amongst spouses during a divorce. If a military couple was married for over 20 years, the service member has completed over 20 years of service, and there was at least a 15-year overlap of marriage, the non-military spouse could receive military privileges after divorce. These privileges include full medical, commissary, and exchange privileges after the divorce.
- Child custody and support: The custody of children looks very different when it comes to military divorces. Service members may be moved around to different service stations or will go through periods where they are deployed. Custodial arrangements may change based on the service member being transferred or if they have a pay increase. Like regular divorce agreements, the judge will make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child.
Laws That are Unique to Military Divorces
To protect both the service members and their spouses, some laws have been put into place. These are designed to ensure that both parties in a divorce are protected.
Some laws involved to protect former spouses in a military divorce include:
- The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA): This act prevents divorce proceedings from moving forward while the service member is deployed or is under assignment for military duty. The service member has the right to put the divorce on hold. The length of time the divorce can be delayed depends on the circumstances of the service member’s duty assignment and needs to be communicated to the court.
- The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act: This act allows states to give military retirement pay directly to the former spouse. The former spouse will be paid by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) or by the service member. The former spouse may also obtain medical care and other military benefits if they meet certain criteria.
How an Attorney Can Help During a Military Divorce
At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, we have handled many military divorce cases and understand how they can be different from civilian divorces.
Even for the most amicable couples, a military divorce can be emotionally draining. A divorce is challenging to handle alone. A military divorce attorney will advocate for you to receive a fair divorce settlement.
We have saved our clients millions of dollars in divorce settlements. We will guide you through the process of your divorce, so you feel confident in the decisions you are making. Our firm will take care of all the legal matters, so you can focus on moving forward with your life.
Have a Military Divorce Lawyer Review Your Case Today
The family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates are familiar with the legal issues that could arise with military divorces. We don’t want you to face these challenges alone.
Our attorneys will be by your side through every step of your divorce proceedings. If you have more questions about military divorces or how long they take, contact us online today or call (256) 859-7277 for a free case review.