Many couples choose to legally separate before getting divorced. There are many reasons for choosing a legal separation. However, if you are in the military then there are special laws and considerations.
How a Military Separation Works
In order to be legally separated, a couple must go to court and obtain a legal separation order. The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act can make it difficult to obtain a legal separation because a military spouse may delay the necessary civil proceedings while on active duty and for 60 days after active duty has been completed. A married couple is not legally separated until military separation papers have been filed and the court has acted on them. Therefore, it may not be possible for a military couple to become legally separated until after the military spouse returns from active duty if the military spouse chooses to delay the proceedings.
Why You Need a Divorce Attorney for a Military Separation
While a marriage separation is less permanent than a divorce, it often involves the same issues such as who will remain in the family home, spousal support, child support and child custody issues. If you decide to file for divorce later, the court will often look to the agreements that you and your spouse had during your legal separation. If you are requesting additional child support than you received during your separation, for example, then you will likely need to justify the increase to the court.
Given the importance of the separation terms and the difficulty of obtaining military separation papers, it is advisable to hire an experienced military divorce attorney to advise you and advocate for you before you file for a separation or respond to your spouse’s request for a separation.