Huntsville, Alabama Military Divorce

As one of the most popular cities in the state of Alabama, Huntsville is home to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, which is the largest NASA center in the country. In fact, its first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo program. Aptly nicknamed “The Rocket City,” Huntsville also boasts over 57 parks including Big Spring International Park, named after the original water source that the city of Huntsville was built around.

Located in downtown Huntsville, it is one of the top sites to visit as it hosts numerous annual festivals and celebrations. If you are an art lover, the Huntsville Museum of Art is worth a look. Huntsville is not only a city of arts and culture, but it also has some of the top lawyers in the state who specialize in family and divorce law.

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How a Huntsville Military Divorce Lawyer Can Help You

The road leading to a divorce might be a long and hard one for some people, and it is further complicated when one spouse is an active-duty military personnel.

If you are just starting the divorce process, you might be wondering, “How long does a military divorce take?” The path may seem like it is littered with lots of legal jargon that is difficult to understand.

However, a divorce should not be that way, and anyone in the military and their spouses can get help with divorce papers by retaining the guidance of a Huntsville, Alabama military divorce lawyer.

There are a few legal issues that need to be worked out when one of the people within the marriage is in the military.

Explaining the Military Divorce Process

It is all about having someone by your side that understands the military divorce rate and the steps in the legal process. Having the right legal help in the form of an experienced military divorce attorney in Huntsville can reduce the stress and emotional strain on you and your family as you navigate through the local and state laws regarding divorce for military persons.

Keep in mind that it will also depend on which state you reside in and the divorce laws within that state.

Helping With Resources

There are resources for military persons and their families who are going through a separation or divorce, and these resources include legal assistance, advice, financial assistance, mediation, tax help, and even help with will writing.

An experienced military divorce lawyer will be able to provide further assistance during the divorce process. Having a reputable law firm represent you is worth it when going through divorce proceedings.

Assisting With Military Benefits

One of the biggest issues that needs to be considered when a divorce happens involves military benefits. The spouse of a military person will be able to keep their military identification card as long as the divorce proceedings are pending but will have to give up the card once the divorce is final.

When a divorce is finalized, the spouse of the military service member will lose access to housing within 30 days after the divorce decree. The nonmilitary spouse will also lose access to any healthcare benefits, but they can purchase as much as 36 months of healthcare coverage. A lawyer can also help without having to rely on a military retirement divorce calculator. Exceptions to these rules apply for longer marriage and service.

Only the spouse will lose access to healthcare. Any children of the service member will retain healthcare until they are 21 years of age, or if they are enrolled in a university until they are 23 years old. If the marriage does end and relocation is necessary, then the military can pay for the nonmilitary spouse to return home.

If the service member needs to pay child and spousal support, they will need to look at the rules regarding child support based on the type of military service they are serving in. This is only in the absence of a court order, and it is meant to be a temporary solution until a more permanent plan for spousal and child support is determined.

What’s the Difference Between Military and Civilian Divorces?

Divorce is a complicated process, and it can be made more difficult when one spouse is on active duty. Therefore, it’s important to know the key differences between military and civilian divorce to prepare yourself.


AL Code § 30-2-5 requires at least one divorcing party to be a state resident for six months before filing the divorce decree. If the military spouse does not reside in Alabama or it is only their base station, they will not be considered a state resident. Therefore, if the divorce decree is filed in Alabama, the court may be out of its jurisdiction to enforce actions like military pension division.

One of our Huntsville military divorce lawyers can advise you on moving forward with cases like these.

Time Frame

Alabama’s waiting period before a divorce can be finalized is 30 days. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, it can take longer. Although there is no timetable for divorce, most couples prefer a swift one. However, in a military divorce, if the military service member is deployed, this process can be dragged out for months on end due to laws protecting them while they’re away.


Civilian retirement account divisions are typically completed through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. However, this may not be acceptable with a military pension.

Instead, these benefits are dependent on factors such as:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Length of military member’s service
  • Overlapping years of service and marriage

Legal Issues to Consider in a Military Divorce

There are other issues for the two people who are contemplating divorce when one person is in the military. For example, suppose the military member abandons their spouse without letting them know and without letting them know whether they will be returning.

In that case, the nonmilitary spouse is still considered to be married in the case of abandonment, and they have legal rights to obtain spousal and child support. It is important to note that an American court will not recognize divorces that occur outside of the United States.

It is advised that anyone in the military who would like to file for divorce should do so within the United States to avoid any potential problems. The military divorce laws make it possible for somebody to file in the state where they are stationed. It is also possible to file in the state where the nonmilitary spouse currently lives or the state in which the military spouse has claimed as their residency.

Protect Your Rights With a Military Divorce Lawyer in Huntsville, Alabama

Both the military service member and the nonmilitary spouse have legal rights when it comes to divorce. The same is true when there is a dual military divorce. It can be difficult for an active duty service member to be served divorce papers when they are overseas or during their active military duty.

However, certain laws such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) give service members more time to respond to divorce papers. They will also be given more time for the divorce hearing in court or any administrative process that is needed to help them prepare for the divorce case.

Military members are also protected from judgment against them when they have failed to respond to divorce papers or a lawsuit. This will give the military spouse time to prepare their case with a Huntsville divorce lawyer that is not hindered by their commitments to active duty service.

This can have implications for the nonmilitary spouse when it comes to them wanting to go ahead with the divorce proceedings. This is why it is difficult to know exactly how long it will take for a military divorce to be finalized.

The nonmilitary spouse can serve divorce papers to the military spouse, but under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the regular court time can be delayed, and the military spouse can ask for a delay of 90 days as they continue with their duties in the military.

A trained lawyer will be able to tell you how this will slow down the divorce process, and in some cases, the court can grant an extension to the request for divorce after the initial 90-day period. The military person may have as long as it is necessary for them to complete their military service and respond to the divorce proceedings. It might appear to the nonmilitary spouse that they have no rights, but this is not true.

Resources for Non-Military Spouse

Non-military spouses do have access to military legal assistance to help them decide on how to proceed with the divorce. However, they will need to find a civil divorce attorney to handle their case. The nonmilitary spouse can also have access to spousal and child support.

A family lawyer can help them with military spouse divorce alimony, child custody, visitation, division of assets, and any other contested issue that the couple cannot come to an agreement on during the divorce process.

There is a federal act called the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act that can provide further assistance to nonmilitary spouses after the marriage is dissolved.

Military Divorce Requirements

Even though divorce is seen as a civilian matter and not heard in military court, there are certain rules to consider when one of the people in a marriage is in the military. This is one of the reasons why anyone filing for divorce will need to state if the person they would like to divorce is a military service member.

When a spouse is within active military service, this can affect the timeline of the divorce process. It may be that the military spouse is not able to attend the divorce hearings, and the nonmilitary spouse may also need to have the military spouse sign a consent form to pursue divorce.

Filing for Divorce

A military member who would like to divorce their spouse would need to consider that there are options when they are actively deployed. They will have the option to file in a state where they previously resided for six months, or they can choose to file in the state where they pay taxes.

The nonmilitary spouse may also be allowed to file where they are currently residing. Many states have created laws to make it easier for service members and their spouses to file in a state where they are stationed at a military base.

Some military members have been able to file in a state where they have been stationed. As stated, filing overseas is never a good idea as the divorce may not be accepted by US courts. Determining where to file during the process can be complicated without the help of a divorce lawyer as some military families move around a lot.

Seeking Legal Help

One of the best things anyone who is starting the divorce process can do is to retain legal help. Having an experienced divorce lawyer who is accustomed to military cases will make a world of difference to the process even when the divorce is amicable.

Military divorces will have the same causes of divorce today as a civilian divorce, and in the same way, military members would need to come to an agreement with their spouse.

Dividing Assets

The couple will need to work out how the military spouse divorce entitlements such as money, cars, or residential homes will be divided. The couple will also need to look at any debt that was acquired during the marriage, including loans and credit card bills, and how the debt will be divided between the couple.

During the divorce process, it is also necessary to discuss any child support, child custody, or spousal support. You will have to consider whether you would like joint custody or if it would be better for one parent to have sole custody of the children.

Some couples may decide that they prefer to go through a legal separation and may have questions such as, “what is a military spouse entitled to in a separation?” A skilled attorney can help with this. It is beneficial to have a family and divorce attorney who is familiar with the process of division of military retirement benefits and how a divorce can impact these benefits as they are considered part of marital property.

This will be a key issue to consider when a couple is going through a military divorce. Keep all of this in mind when thinking about how to file for divorce in the military.

Your Legal Rights in a Huntsville Military Divorce

Military divorces are complex. Military personnel and their spouses are afforded certain rights that civilians are not. You must understand these protections and their meaning to ensure your rights are not violated during the divorce process.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

SCRA protects active-duty military personnel from an action moving forward while they are away. In divorce, this means that the dissolution can not proceed without their presence. The service member or their respective counsel can request a “stay of action” with the court to prevent further proceedings.

This stay can last up to 90 days but can be extended at the court’s discretion based on the circumstances.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)

Under the USFSPA, spouses can get some financial protection upon divorce. This act allows states to divide disposable retired pay between the service member and spouse. If the obligation of child or spousal support is not required, the Department of Defense (DOD) will pay up to 50% of disposable retired pay. However, if it is, the DOD will pay up to 65% of retired pay.

In some cases, the court can make an order higher than this percentage, requiring the service member to make up the difference.

Get a Fair Settlement with a Huntsville, Alabama Military Divorce Attorney

As with any divorce, one of the key things in a divorce definition is to consider what is a military spouse entitled to in a divorce? This is also true for a divorce that involves a military service member. It may be surprising to the military spouse to discover that the nonmilitary person is entitled to more than they would like to give.

The laws governing a military divorce will look at the length of time the couple has been married and how long the person has served in the military. It will be important for your lawyer to determine the length of time where the marriage overlaps with the duration of military service.

The 20-20-20 Rule

A lawyer trained in military divorces will be able to guide you on what to ask for in a divorce. They will know that in the military divorce process, the current rule looks at 20 years of military service and 20 years of marriage. It is then important to consider how much of the marriage overlaps with the duration of service.

For example, if the marriage was less than 20 years and the person served in the military less than 20 years, then the benefits that the nonmilitary spouse is entitled to will be reduced. However, this is in contrast to a marriage that lasted at least 20 years, and the spouse served in the military for at least 20 years of this marriage.

This is the basis for the divorce meaning of the 20-20-20 rule in which there are 20 years of active service, married for 20 years, and having 20 years of the marriage and active service overlapping. The nonmilitary spouse in this situation could be entitled to retaining as many benefits as they had before the marriage was dissolved. This may include access to full benefits.

The 20-20-15 Rule

In cases where there are 20 years of service, 20 years of marriage, and a 15-year overlap, the former spouse is entitled to direct payment of retired pay and retention of medical care.

The 10-10-10 Rule

In cases where there are ten years of service, ten years of marriage and ten years that overlap, the spouse is entitled to direct payment of retired pay.

There are extra laws that will govern military divorce and alimony, and it is important to choose a lawyer who completely understands the process from start to finish. The best thing for anyone is to set up an initial consultation to discuss a military divorce child custody case. The attorney can explain various aspects of the case and let you know what information is needed to proceed with the divorce case.

There are many reasons for divorce, and if your spouse has served you with divorce papers, your next step should be going to see an attorney right away. It cannot be overemphasized how essential it is to find the right divorce lawyer to help you on how to proceed with the case.

The lawyer will usually ask questions about the marriage and the reasons for divorce. They will need to know more information about the length of military service and what benefits the service member and the nonmilitary spouse currently receive. This information can be used to help in determining spousal and child support.

It is essential for service members and their nonmilitary spouses to have a thorough understanding of the divorce process and how a military divorce will affect them. There are specific aspects that will affect them when it comes to the length of time the person has served and the benefits a spouse may be entitled to.

This is why only a divorce attorney who understands military divorce rate and divorce statistics can give the best advice on how to go forward with your case.

Huntsville Military Divorce Lawyer, Charlotte Christian

Contact Us to Learn How We Can Help You

Charlotte Christian Law, and its stellar legal staff is built with processes and procedures second to none.

If you or a loved one is seeking legal guidance about a divorce or family law issue, we can help. We are dedicated legal professionals who can represent you.

Call us at (256) 445-9206 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation or for more information.

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