Attorneys: A History of Helpfulness

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Attorneys: A History of Helpfulness

Attorneys in our day are often called bottom feeders, ambulance chasers or worse. I am an attorney in private practice, and it is my mission to show you that the law is a calling filled with noble and enthusiastic people who are doing the job to help others. The law can be incredibly confusion, and it seems to change drastically day by day. Attorneys are there to help clients navigate the murky waters of legal issues and find the most appropriate solution to problems they face. So don't think of a lawyer as the bad guys. Lawyers help people, and this blog will teach you how.

How Military Divorce Is Different

Ending a marriage is a challenging process regardless of the circumstances, as any divorce lawyer will tell you. Throw in being an active member of the military, though, and that adds a couple more layers of complexity to the process. Let's examine how military divorces are a bit different from other ones.


Federal laws interact with state laws when it comes to divorces in the military. The key legislation governing this part of the process is called the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act. It addresses questions about how the military will address child and spousal support, pensions, military pay and other factors in a divorce. In particular, the USFSPA empowers the military to treat retirement pay as marital property to be divided rather than income. Consequently, retired military pay can be awarded as divided property on top of support.

State of Residence

The laws governing divorce are usually dictated by the primary state of residence for the couple. As you might imagine, this can be a little tricky when dealing with military deployments, especially overseas. Federal rules allow parties to a divorce involving at least one service member to have greater flexibility in determining which state is their residence. That gives a bit more power to the filing party because they will be positioned to shop for a venue, and you'll then have to contest the matter if you don't want to deal with a particular state's laws.

Availability of Legal Assistance

Service members and their spouses may have access to legal assistance through the military. Notably, these assistance services can only provide guidance. They can't represent you before a court of law, and you will have to hire a military divorce lawyer to present your case. Also, they're not allowed to advise both sides, and many people choose to forgo them for this reason.

Time to Respond

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is designed to take some of the legal sting out of being deployed. In particular, it's normal for a party being served papers to be required to respond within a limited time period or face a default judgment. Service members can seek a stay under the law to postpone pending actions and hearings until they have time to deal with them.

Overseas Divorces

Generally, the U.S. military does not recognize divorce documents from other countries. If your case involves a proceeding from overseas, it's best to submit a new filing in a U.S. state court.

To learn more, contact a military divorce lawyer like Karen Robins Carnegie PLC.