When a marriage is no longer tenable for the parties involved, a dissolution may be the best option for troubled couples. However, when at least one spouse is a service member, a military divorce differs in some key points. Colorado couples who are contemplating one may benefit from becoming familiar with some of those differences.

One of the first distinctions between a civil and military divorce is that an active duty member is protected from any filing while he or she is actively engaged in serving the country. This protection extends for two months after the active duty has ended, in order to allow a military member to focus on the job at hand. Another key difference is where a divorce may be filed. Civilians are required to file in the state of their residence while a service member or spouse may elect to file in the state of residence, the state where one is stationed, or where one or the other spouse has established residency. Once a filing has been recorded in a state, issues such as child custody and support, as well as alimony, will be determined by that state’s laws.

Military pension is one matter that can either fall under federal or state guidelines. If a couple has been married for at least 10 years and that time overlaps with 10 years of military service, then a spouse may be entitled to pension benefits paid directly through the Defense Financing and Accounting Services. In circumstances where the marriage does not meet those requirements, a state may still order pension benefits paid directly by the former spouse.

There are other benefits to which some spouses may be entitled, depending on the length of the marriage and the individual circumstances. Colorado residents who may be in the beginning of a divorce likely have many questions and concerns. An experienced family law attorney who is well-versed in military divorce may provide valuable input throughout the process.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Divorce“, Accessed on Oct. 21, 2017