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D.C. Area Military Law Blog

Military divorce jurisdiction laws

While the drafting and filing of military divorce papers is no different than a civilian divorce, some special laws have been put in place to expand the jurisdiction in which a military divorce can be filed.

Civilian divorces must be filed in the county of residence where the filing party lived the majority of the prior six months. However, in a divorce where one or both parties are active military personnel, there are three options for where the proceedings may be initiated. These are: in the state where the filing spouse resides, in the state where the military member is stationed, or in the state where the military member claims legal residency.

New security clearance rules could affect many service members

Military service members could see a rise in security clearance issues regarding their finances under recently issued new guidelines.

An article posted by Military Times states that, historically, members working in national security could expect a financial and criminal record review every five to 10 years. Their type and level of clearance determined the time frames. However, under new guidelines, a continuous monitoring system will be implemented. This means that members who experience financial issues will likely be required to remedy them immediately, whereas, under previous review periods, they would have had time to remedy those situations prior to their next review.

Is your military family care plan up to date?

Family life in the U.S. military is much the same, yet quite different, from family life in the average civilian Virginia household. If you and your spouse have been raising children in a military lifestyle for some time, you have likely encountered numerous challenges, especially if you've had to relocate or deploy at any time.

Thankfully, the military typically provides strong family support systems to address various types of issues that may arise on the home front while the military member (or members, if both parents are currently serving) carries out his or her duties stateside or overseas. If you, like many civilian couples, have determined that your marital problems are not reparable, you will undoubtedly have to resolve many child-related issues before settling things in court. A solid family care plan is a great asset in such circumstances.

What are different military benefits?

Understanding military benefits is an important part of understanding the military property division process during divorce. Answering questions about what military benefits include will help divorcing military couples anticipate how some of these concerns will be addressed during the property division process.

Military members receive benefits for housing, groceries and healthcare. Benefits are in addition to the military pay the military member receives which may include special pay and allowances for pay grade, military job and deployment. Married service members also receive Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

Military child custody considerations

There are some things divorcing military parents should know when going through the military divorce process. A military divorce can quickly grow to be complex and child custody is commonly, and understandably, a high priority concern for divorcing military couples.

The family law process is available to help divorcing couples through the child custody process which is true for divorcing military couples as well. Military child custody can be complex so it is important for divorcing couples to be familiar with the process and have trained guidance to help them sort it all out. Child custody decisions in a military setting are made using the same major determination that is considered in all child custody situations by deciding what is in the best interests of the child.

Protect your rights and assets in a military divorce

You may be one of many women who chose not to pursue a college education or career outside the home because you agreed to be a stay-at-home mother in support of your spouse's military career. When things really started to go sour in your relationship, you knew a divorce was likely. It's understandable if you're worried about numerous issues, such as child support, custody proceedings and alimony.  

The more you know about military divorce ahead of time, the less anxiety you might feel as you take legal steps to end your marriage and lay the groundwork for a new lifestyle with your children. It's always a good idea to talk to other former military spouses who have gone through similar experiences in the past. They are often fountains of knowledge regarding what to expect as you navigate the military divorce process and can also likely share many support resources for you and your children, as well.  

The importance of a security clearance

The ability of a service member to earn a living may depend on their ability to obtain a security clearance which is why understand the security clearance process is so important. Additionally, independent contractors and some civil employees may also rely on a security clearance to obtain and maintain their employment which is why it is beneficial to be familiar with the ins and outs of the security clearance process.

Security clearances may be required by different agencies and the process can include administrative law judges in the Department of Defense, for instance, or administrative panels within the Department of justice. The process may also include presenting before the CIA or State Department. Because of the complexities associated with the security clearance process, and the many parties and moving parts that may sometimes be involved, trained guidance through the process can be helpful.

Evaluating parental relocation requests

Members of the military who are divorcing can often face certain challenges which other couples may not face with regard to deployments and other concerns, but it is helpful to be as familiar as possible with how the family law process handles certain divorce-related issues. One concern that can come up in the context of child custody, in a military divorce or otherwise, is parental relocation.

Parental relocation can cause concerns for parents and children alike, and is something that the family law court is prepared to address and does not take lightly. Parental relocation requests may be handled in different ways but they are always reviewed according to what is in the best interests of the child. If the court determines that the relocation would not be in the best interests of the child, the custodial parent may be required to remain with the child within the state.

Resources to protect the rights and interests of military members

Military law can seem like a complex and confusing area of the law with big impacts on the lives of service members and others. Because of this reality, and the significant impact military law can have on many aspects of a service member's life, it is helpful for military members to understand what military law refers to and some of the concerns it may address.

When a violation of military law has been alleged, it becomes even more important and serious for military members to understand military law and their rights throughout the process. Military law concerns military members may need assistance with can include security clearances for both military service and civil servant positions; courts-martial; discipline by a commanding officer; allegations of mistreatment by commanding officers; military and navy boards of correction; and disability claims evaluated through physical evaluation boards.

Understanding military discharges and their impact

When a military career ends prematurely it can end in an administrative separation which can have a significant and negative impact on military members, their lives and futures. There are two types of administrative separations military service members should be familiar with including administrative separations and punitive discharges.

Administrative separation is a non-judicial process. A discharge, on the other hand, usually occurs after a judicial conviction or a court-martial which can include a dishonorable discharge. An administrative separation can occur for a variety of reasons including a pattern of misconduct; insubordination; drug abuse; weight issues; nonperformance of duties; or poorly performing duties.

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