Knowledgeable Hunstville Lawyer Counsels Clients on Military Divorce
Highly personal legal representation for service members and spouses based in Alabama
If you or your spouse is in the military and you are contemplating divorce, there are special considerations you must be aware of. Alabama state law governs most of the process, but active-duty service members enjoy certain procedural protections. Military medical and retirement benefits also complicate the process. To make sure your rights are protected, you need a divorce lawyer who understands the nuances of state and federal laws that differentiate military from civilian divorce. Sree B. Ravi, P.C., Attorney at Law in Huntsville has the knowledge and experience you need. In the past decade, we have served numerous divorce clients in northern Alabama, including service members and military spouses at the Redstone Arsenal Army Base in nearby Madison.
How are military divorces different from civilian divorces?
To get a military divorce in Alabama, at least one of the spouses must reside or be stationed in the state. Grounds for military divorce are the same as those for civilian divorce. However, under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), 50 UCS § 521, an active-duty service member has protection from a default judgment in a divorce case. If a service member is on deployment, the local Alabama court may postpone the proceedings while the service member is away and for up to 60 days following his or her return. The service member may waive this right to allow the divorce to go through.
Service members must be served divorce papers personally, rather than by mail, electronic communication, or publication. The service member may also waive this right.
Military divorces also have special alimony and child support requirements. The total amount of spousal and child support in a military divorce is not allowed to be more than 60 percent of the military spouse’s salary.
Dividing property and benefits in a military divorce
Although Alabama is an equitable distribution state for the purposes of property division in divorce, the USFSPA governs how military benefits are calculated and divided. For a military spouse to share in a service member’s retirement benefits, the marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years. The USFSPA authorizes a direct payment of a portion of the benefits to the spouse.
Military spouses can also remain eligible for medical benefits after divorce. TRICARE will cover former spouses whose marriage to a 20-year service member lasted 20 years, and if the service and the marriage overlapped by 20 years. Limited medical coverage is available for former spouses whose marriage only overlapped with service for 15 years. Former spouses who do not qualify under these rules may receive some benefits under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program if they do not remarry and meet certain conditions.
Hiring a military divorce lawyer in Alabama
To protect your rights in a military divorce, just any family law attorney won’t do. The resident JAG attorney at the base may have dealt with domestic violence complaints, but he or she may not have the requisite background in divorce. You must choose an attorney with knowledge and experience in military divorce. If you speak with an attorney and all he or she knows about military divorce is the talking points from a printed USFSPA factsheet, you need to call Sree B. Ravi, P.C., Attorney at Law.
Contact a Huntsville law firm with experience in military divorce
Every divorce is challenging, but military divorce has special considerations that only experienced lawyers are prepared to handle. You must choose a knowledgeable attorney to obtain a favorable outcome. Call Sree B. Ravi, P.C., Attorney at Law at 256-937-1540 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Huntsville office.