Stamford Military Divorce Lawyer

Military divorces can be more complex than civilian divorces, in large part because of issues around jurisdiction. Military divorces occur in the same family courts as any other divorce. That means one or both parties must meet Connecticut’s residency requirements.

While civilian courts handle the divorce, being in the military impacts the division of property. Military involvement has certain financial benefits and affects how a court divides the assets. That is true whether a spouse is currently in the military or has already been discharged. Contacting a Stamford military divorce lawyer can ensure you get the necessary representation. Reach out to a seasoned divorce attorney at our firm today to learn more.


Jurisdiction refers to a court’s ability to decide a case. In Connecticut, the residency requirement establishes jurisdiction by showing one party’s ties to the state. Military cases are different. Typically, a service member is a resident of the state where they are stationed, though they may also have a legal residence in another state.

Therefore, two states can have jurisdiction over the case. In fact, if both spouses are military members and have legal residence in two states or different posts, up to four states could have jurisdiction. Determining where to file suit can be complex since each state’s laws will have a different impact on property division, custody, spousal support, and more. A Stamford divorce lawyer familiar with military divorces can provide guidance about the venue.

Having jurisdiction is not enough. The plaintiff still has to serve the defendant personally with notice of the divorce. That is true even if the defendant is a deployed service member. However, the defendant can elect to waive service of process.


Another unique characteristic of military divorces is the ability to delay proceedings. In a typical family law case, the court only allows reasonable delays. Connecticut has an interest in preventing delay for the other spouse.

However, in military divorces, one spouse may be deployed and unable to attend court. In other circumstances, failure to appear, even for the military spouse, would result in a default judgment. Service members can inform the court if they are deployed and request a stay off for the proceedings.

Stays are not automatic, nor are they required. If the parties have an agreed settlement, the court can grant the divorce without the service member being present in the courtroom. However, if the parties disagree about issues and need a trial, a knowledgeable military divorce lawyer in Stamford will recommend requesting a stay.

Military Retirement Benefits

State property laws apply to military divorces. That is one reason that venue is such a critical issue. However, federal law applies to retirement benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act has precise guidelines regarding allocating military retirement benefits.

One of the more essential details involves direct payment. If the spouses were not married for at least ten years, they cannot receive direct retirement benefit payments. The court may still award them part of the military retirement. Still, the military member must make the payments rather than the spouse receiving them directly from the plan administrator.

Division of military retirement can become messy and complicated, creating an ongoing obligation that will probably outlast any of the parties’ other ongoing obligations. A skilled Stamford military divorce attorney may have alternative ways to divide property and avoid an ongoing commitment.

Spouses also get non-monetary benefits. Suppose a spouse was married to a service member for 20 years of that person’s military service. In that case, the ex spouse will be entitled to receive medical, commissary, and exchange benefits. However, these non-monetary benefits are only available until the non-military ex-spouse remarries.

Discuss Your Case With a Stamford Military Divorce Attorney

The breakdown of a marriage is never easy. When one of the spouses is in the military, an emotionally complicated situation can become legally complex as well. It is vital to let your legal team know about the military service. It can impact every decision in the divorce, starting with where to file. Schedule a consultation with a Stamford military divorce lawyer at our firm to find out more.

Connecticut Family Lawyer | CT Family Law | Dolan Family Attorneys N/a
1700 Bedford Street Suite 202 Stamford CT 06905 (203) 599-7498