Serving in the military does not completely insulate a person from one of life’s most traumatic events: getting divorced. Mississippi, like most states, has enacted laws that are designed to at least partially protect military personnel on active duty from the stress of divorce. This post will summarize the essential provisions of those aspects of military family law that differentiate divorces between two civilians and divorces in which at least one spouse is on active duty with a branch of the nation’s armed forces.
The grounds for divorce are governed by Mississippi law. Mississippi law will apply if the court has jurisdiction over the case. This will be the case if at least one spouse resides in Mississippi or at least one spouse is stationed in Mississippi. According to federal law, a person on active duty cannot be served with a divorce action as long as they are on active duty and for 60 days thereafter. The military spouse can, however, execute a written waiver of this protection and acknowledge receipt of the divorce petition.
The couple’s property will be divided according to Mississippi law with one important exception. Federal law governs the division and payment of military pensions. The non-military spouse is not entitled to any share of the pension unless the couple has been married for at least 10 years. Mississippi law will determine the amount of child support and alimony to be paid, subject to the limitation that support and alimony payments cannot exceed 60% of the military spouse’s pay and allowances. Mississippi law will also govern issues of child custody and support.
Anyone in Mississippi who is contemplating a divorce while in the military or while his or her spouse is serving, may wish to consider consulting a lawyer who is experienced in the complexities of military divorces in Mississippi. Such a consultation can provide helpful advice on how to commence a divorce if one spouse is in the military and on the likely course of the divorce proceeding itself.
Source: DivorceSupport.com, “Mississippi Military Divorce Laws,” accessed on April 30, 2017