Divorce can be an overwhelming and complicated process, especially when it involves a military spouse who is stationed overseas. Aside from the basic divorce process, a variety of factors can impact your separation, such as where to file, one’s ability to take part in the case, child support, and more. While your military spouse is deployed, it is important to understand the dissolution process and how to file for divorce under these specific circumstances.
When you file for a divorce, the court must have jurisdiction to proceed, which is dependent on where both parties physically reside. When your spouse is deployed overseas, jurisdiction is understandably more complicated.
For Connecticut to have jurisdiction over a divorce, one or both of the parties must have resided in the state for at least one (1) year prior to filing the action, or, the Plaintiff must state that the marriage broke down after either the Plaintiff or Defendant moved to Connecticut.
There are a variety of protections for those in the military when it comes to a divorce or legal separation. To provide a fair case and proper proceedings, The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act 50 UCS Section 521 protects active service members from being divorced without knowing that the divorce is pending.
Service members are not always able to receive divorce papers while overseas. In Connecticut, these proceedings can be postponed by local courts for up to 60 days until the service member returns. However, the service member agrees to the divorce while he or she is still overseas, the parties can begin the process.
Filing for a divorce with a military spouse overseas also impacts financial assets and property. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) oversees the division of military benefits during a divorce. While this act allows payments to be sent to former service member spouses, state law applies to the overall property division process. In Connecticut, the equitable distribution principle applies, which means property is divided fairly, but not always equal.
In addition to financial divisions, child support and custody are handled differently for members of the military. Child support cannot exceed 60 percent of a service member’s pay, and other state guidelines also apply. In terms of child custody, many might believe the service member’s spouse will receive full custody, but this is not always the case. Other family members can occasionally step in to take custody or shared custody during the duration of the military spouse’s deployment.
Ending your marriage can be complicated and overwhelming, especially when your former partner is overseas, leaving you to start the process alone. If you are considering divorcing your spouse who is deployed overseas, it is essential to understand the process and your rights in a divorce. A skilled military divorce attorney could help you through the process and protect your rights. Contact one of our experienced lawyers today to learn more.