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Questions to consider as you start your military divorce

As an individual serving our country, you take pride in having responsibilities. Your country, family and the future are of the upmost importance to you. Like any couple, you and your spouse have had your ups and downs. Now, the two of you have come to the conclusion that being together isn’t working. While you have love for and care about one another, it seems that the two of you will be better off ending your marriage.

While the idea and process of divorce is stressful for any couple, you have added concerns. As a military member, you want to know if anything is different. Your situation is not the same as other non-military families. Now you have questions.

Common questions military members have regarding the divorce process.

Your decision to serve the country was one that required a lot of consideration, discipline and commitment. The same can be said for the divorce process. You want what is best for your entire family moving forward. You know you can make things work, and having a better understanding of how this will happen can help put you at ease.

  • What state do I need to file in? Service members may have the option to file in their state of residence or the current state where they are stationed. If your spouse has established residency in another state, you may also file in that state.
  • How is child custody determined? The rules and regulations regarding child custody and support will be dependent on the laws of the state in which you choose to file. This factor may be one you consider when deciding where to file. In Colorado, the laws no longer use the term “custody,” and now focus on allocating parental responsibilities. This can be a great option for you and your soon-to-be ex to work together and create a plan that best suits the particular needs of your military family.
  • What will happen to my Military retirement and pension plans? The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act both have certain protections for spouses and active military members when it comes to retirement benefits. States can treat retirement pay as property in the divorce process. Often, the duration of marriage and time spent in service are key points in determining how retirement funds will be divided.

In order to start the process off, you and your spouse will want to determine which state you are eligible to file in. If more than one state applies, look into the state laws. You should also check out different types of divorce proceedings. You may find that mediation, arbitration or a collaborative divorce process will work best for your family.

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