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Understanding the logistics of a military divorce

Military marriages face challenges and issues a civilian marriage does not. Long deployments, injuries and other aspects of being a service member can take its toll on a marriage. Sometimes, military spouses in Mississippi find that their marriage has simply become untenable, and it is for the best that they divorce. However, a military divorce can present unique aspects not necessarily found in a civilian divorce.

First of all, in any divorce the court must have "jurisdiction," that is, the authority to preside over the divorce. In a civilian divorce, the court with jurisdiction is usually the one in the state where the couple resides. However, what happens if a military spouse is stationed somewhere other than his or her home state? For service members, jurisdiction can still be found in the state where the service member resides legally, even if he or she is temporarily stationed elsewhere.

Second, in any divorce the spouse seeking the divorce must serve the divorce papers on the other spouse. In many states, a service member or his or her spouse is allowed to file for divorce wherever the service member is stationed. This is true even if neither party can be considered to be a resident of that particular state. Therefore, a military divorce may be filed in the state where the spouse filing for divorce holds residency, the state where the service member is currently stationed or in the state where the service member is a legal resident.

Finally, it is important to know that service members have certain protections with regards to divorce proceedings through the Service Members Civil Relief Act that civilians do not. Per this law, service members receive protection from divorce proceedings so that they can focus on serving their country. Therefore, the divorce can be delayed during the active duty of the service member, and for 60 days thereafter.

Military marriages face stressors that many civilian marriages do not. While some couples are able to work through their issues, others find that this is not possible and their marriage was not meant to last. However, service members should not be dealt an unfair hand in divorce proceedings due to their military duties. Therefore, they receive certain protections and allowances not found in civilian divorces. A Mississippi military family law attorney may be able to explain more about the differences between a military divorce and a civilian divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce," Accessed Dec. 12, 2016

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