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Make sure your civilian divorce attorney has extensive experience with military-related family law, including a strong understanding of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) and the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).Although military personnel and their family members have access to free legal services provided by the Judge’s Advocate General’s Corps (military officers who are also lawyers), military lawyers are not usually familiar with state divorce laws.Every state has its own unique set of divorce laws that govern divorce actions filed therein, so consulting with a JAG attorney will be of little use to a military member going through a divorce.Civilian attorneys who specialize in family law know their state’s laws.Sometimes, couples (both military and civilian) that are going through a rough patch in their marriage choose to separate before pursuing a divorce.
Once a Divorce is finalized by the court (usually when the court issues a Divorce Decree) the marriage is terminated.
Therefore, it is essential to hire a civilian divorce attorney who is an expert in local family law matters.
There are a few extra complications military personnel (or those married to military personnel) have to consider when getting divorced.
Similarly, if they have a “separation agreement,” it just shows that they are currently separated and have made some agreements to help spell out rights and responsibilities during this time period.
If the couple decides to legally separate or divorce later, they may be able to incorporate their separation agreement into a judgment of legal separation or divorce.Check out our section devoted to Military Divorce for lots of helpful information.