Divorce is rarely a pleasant experience regardless of profession, but those serving in the military face unique challenges. Although state and local laws apply to military divorces, just as they do to civilian divorces, there are usually additional circumstances that military members and their spouses may have to consider. Military personnel and their spouses who are stationed or reside in Virginia should understand which laws may apply to their situation.
The legal assistance office can offer military families free legal guidance, but they cannot represent them in court or draw legal documents. They can advise you about special circumstances that may be covered under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, which may provide certain protections if active duty interferes with court dates.
While military families are often stationed overseas, it is best to file for divorce in the United States as a divorce obtained in another country may not be recognized. Service members or their spouses may file in the state where they are stationed or the state where either the service member or their spouse claims legal residence. There are other legal issues to consider when divorcing while overseas, including any property owned in another country. As long as it is done before a tour of duty ends, family members and their property may be brought home at military expense.
Military spouses are also eligible to receive advice from the legal assistance office. Under certain circumstances, a spouse may be eligible to continue to receive some benefits even after the divorce is final. Regardless of the circumstances, going through a divorce is a complicated and difficult process. Military members face additional complications due to their service.