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Military Divorce In Virginia | Virginia Military Family Law

Special Issues Concerning Military Divorce In Virginia

Obtaining a Virginia divorce when one or both spouses are military service members poses some special issues. While many aspects of a military divorce in Virginia are the same as civilian divorces, such as the grounds for divorce, there are several key differences that affect military service members.

Virginia may not have jurisdiction to address all issues.  Some of the issues that the military service member may need to have addressed may need to be resolved in other jurisdictions.

  • Active Duty service members may be able to postpone divorce proceedings. Under the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), military personnel can stay divorce proceedings if they are unable to participate due to military service. This delay could be extended for as long as they are on active duty and until sixty days after their separation from service. However, service members may also waive their right to stay a divorce, and a stay beyond 90 days is subject to the discretion of the court.
  • There are federal laws regarding military pensions. While Virginia law generally govern’s a military divorce, some issues are impacted by federal law.  Division of the military pension is one such issue.  The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (“USFSPA”) is a federal law that permits Virginia to award part of the service member’s military pension to his or her spouse upon a divorce, subject to the terms of the USFSPA.
  • It may be difficult to serve divorce papers to a military service member. Military personnel on active duty must be served with divorce papers, regardless of whether they are deployed, overseas, or difficult to locate.
  • The spouse of a soldier or sailor may be eligible for continued military benefits. This is the case with longer marriages, and should be carefully considered when contemplating a divorce.
  • There are limits on the garnishment of wages for spousal support and child support payments.  A military service member’s wages cannot be garnished for spousal support or child support above a specified percent of the service member’s wages, which varies based upon enumerated factors.

These are just a few of the special issues that can complicate a military divorce.  A Virginia divorce attorney experienced with military divorces can guide you through the process of ending your marriage – whether you are serving in the military or your spouse serves — and make sure your rights are protected. Located in Virginia Beach and serving the surrounding Tidewater area, the Law Office of Lori A. Michaud has the knowledge and understanding to assist with your military divorce. If you have a legal question regarding military family law or military divorce, call us today or fill out the electronic contact form on this page. We offer free, private meetings to discuss your case and have handled divorce and child custody cases for military personnel stationed at Fort Story, Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Oceana, and the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek.

Testimonials

An outstanding job on my case to have custody, visitation and support decided in my home state instead of Virginia after I separated from military service.- A.E.