Military divorce is different on almost every level. If one or both spouses are in the military, then the location of the divorce, child support and custody, pension rights, and more are all affected. For starters, you have to file in the state where the military spouse is either domiciled or where that spouse resides. Both spouses can agree to file in another state, if that works better. Your divorce will be subject to the laws of the state where you file.
When there are children involved in a divorce, their welfare is paramount. This is often the most heated issue in the process too, since so much is at stake. When the divorce is also a military divorce, this further complicates matters. To calculate child support, you will have to use the state's child support guidelines as usual. The difference is in how one must calculate the military spouse's net income. This cannot be determined by his or her federal tax returns. That spouse's finances have to be based on their Leave and Earning Statement.
Child custody is probably a thornier issue. Military parents live with the reality that they could be deployed for months at a time, or they could be reassigned to a new post across the nation. Military divorces should have multiple parenting plans. This means, that if the service member currently lives close enough to enjoy
visitation rights, then the current parenting plan can factor this in. Then the parents will have to create a secondary parenting plan. This will prepare them in the event that the military parent is transferred or deployed. What usually happens with joint custody is that the civilian parent watches over the child when the military parent is unable to. If the service member has sole custody, the court may let that parent's new spouse or a relative care for the child when the service member is deployed.
Another potential factor in military divorces is a Family Care Plan. This plan must be created when a military parent is an unmarried or single parent, or when both parents serve in the military. This plan will go into effect whenever the service member must be gone for more than 30 days. The details depend on which branch of the military the parent is in, but there are many issues in common. The Family Care Plan will identify a civilian caregiver who is 21 or older, plus a secondary caregiver just in case. Perhaps the plan will name a short-term caregiver and a long-term caregiver. Contact information will be included. The plan must also specifically outline how the caregiver and child will travel.
This is only a brief outline. Divorce law is complicated enough on its own. When military service enters the equation, this only compounds the complexity. With experienced Long Island divorce lawyers, however, you can find that the process becomes smoother. If you have any questions about your military divorce, please do not hesitate to contact the Meyers Law Group. Let us help you through this difficult time with efficient and compassionate legal counsel.