Federal and state laws regulate various issues concerning separation and divorces involving military families. These include the division of military pension, matters of residency for filing requirements, service of process, and compliance. At Hedahl & Radtke Family Law Center, our Fayetteville, NC divorce lawyer can help you understand your options for seeking a beneficial outcome in a military separation or divorce case.
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According to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active-duty military personnel may begin divorce proceedings while on active duty. In addition, active duty service men and women can be protected from separation and divorce proceedings initiated by their spouse for up to 90 days following the start of the case, at the court’s discretion. This is to make sure military personnel on active duty can have the time needed to secure representation as well and allows them to put their focus entirely on defending the nation.
Active duty service members can waive this right to postpone separation and divorce proceedings if they wish to move forward more quickly. Furthermore, state laws limit child support and alimony garnishments to no more than 60% of the military member’s basic pay. Regarding property division, in addition to the North Carolina property division laws, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) gives the states limited authority to divide military pensions within the parameters of that Act.
In order for a North Carolina court to have jurisdiction in the case, the military member must be served personally with a summons and copy of the court action. If the matter is uncontested, or the service member has no objection to proceeding in North Carolina, the military member can simply sign and file a waiver affidavit to acknowledge the state’s jurisdiction for the separation or divorce action. Determining which state is most appropriate to file separation issues and divorce is important because once a couple files and jurisdiction is established, they will be subject to the laws of the state in which they filed.
Once the marital property is divided by Court Order, Military retirement can be paid directly to the former spouse through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Direct pay is only available if the couple had at least ten years of marriage overlapping ten years of military service and only if the Servicemember is a resident of this state for other than military purposes or submits to jurisdiction in this state. The Fayetteville, NC divorce attorney at Hedahl & Radtke Family Law Center can help determine your eligibility for filing for property division in the state of North Carolina and discuss your options concerning the division of retirement pay.
In addition, spouses of former military members may be eligible for a dependent ID card which provides them with commissary, medical, and exchange privileges under certain circumstances. These benefits are available for life if the couple was married for at least 20 years and the couple had at least 20 years of overlapping marriage and military service. With our dedicated Fayetteville, NC divorce attorney, you can receive knowledgeable assistance and advice for your case.
Call us at (910) 684-3370 today for quality representation!