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Handling divorce while in the military

Military members in Alaska may wonder how their enlistment can affect decisions like marriage and divorce. When a military couple decides to end their marriage, they are legally the same as other U.S. couples. However, there are some factors that members of the armed forces may want to keep in mind when they reach the end of their marriage.

Family law for military members has some unique complications; a divorce can take a bit longer if one of the spouses is stationed remotely or overseas. In addition, military members may not yet be considered residents of the state where they are stationed due to requirements concerning the length of their presence there. In some cases, there are special exemptions for members of the military and a divorce can move forward under the provisions of that state.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act can be important for members of the military seeking a divorce. This federal law provides that state statutes should cover divorce issues like child support, military retirement pay and spousal support. Retirement funds are generally considered marital assets, and military retirement pay can be considered property rather than income under the law. In addition, former spouses can receive direct retirement pay from the military if the couple was married for over 10 years with a full overlap with 10 years of service. However, a divorce settlement can also include distributions of retirement pay that are not eligible for direct payments to a former spouse.

When people in the military make a decision to divorce, they may need support and resources that are aware of their situation. A family law firm representing military members may help divorcing spouses reach a just settlement and advocate for their rights in terms of child support, spousal support and property division.

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