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Montgomery County Military Divorce Attorney Serving the Needs of Service Members stationed at Fort Campbell Army Base

Helping members of the military navigate the divorce process

When a spouse – or both spouses – serve in the military and the couple wants to divorce, there are special rules and requirements that apply. While the process is no more complicated than that of a standard Tennessee divorce, they are unique, and it is important to understand the federal and state laws that apply and certain unique aspects. Montgomery County family law attorney Ryan K. McFarland is experienced in military divorce and has been successfully helping Tennessee military families in divorce and other family matters, including issues of relocation and division of military retirement since 2004.

Laws protect service members

Military divorces are subject to both state and federal laws, and special rules and requirements apply to United States service members and their spouses when they decide to divorce. Laws were established to protect active duty military personnel from being divorced without their knowledge due to failure to respond to a divorce action. The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Tennessee courts allow divorce proceedings to be postponed for the duration of an active service member’s duty and for a period of 60 days thereafter; active members of the military may waive this right if they wish to proceed with the divorce.

My spouse is on active duty; how do I file for divorce?

In order for the Tennessee court to have jurisdiction over an active military member, the law requires that the spouse on active military duty be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action. In the case of an uncontested divorce, if the spouse on active duty signs and files a waiver affidavit acknowledging the divorce action, then they may not have to be served.

Military divorce filing requirements

To file for a military divorce in Tennessee, you or your spouse must be a resident of Tennessee. If you live on Fort Campbell military instillation there are also certain situations where you may file in Tennessee instead of Kentucky and benefits in doing so. Grounds for a military divorce in Tennessee are the same as those for a civilian divorce in Tennessee, which is either “fault” or “no-fault” grounds, or based on a legal separation of at least two years.

Child Custody, Visitation, and Support

Issues of custody and visitation can be very complex for military families by nature and they require creative solutions to ensure that children have a good relationship with both parents. Additionally, the military guidelines addressing payment of a servicemembers Basic Allowance for Housing to his or her dependents are different from those of the civilian courts.

How is property divided in a military divorce?

Tennessee is an “equitable division state” and the laws regarding property division in a military divorce are the same as those in a civilian divorce. In addition, the United States government has established the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), legislation that governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. As the governing body, the USFSPA authorizes direct payment from Defense Finance and Accounting Services of a portion of a military retiree’s pay to the former spouse in a marriage of ten years that overlapped ten years of the servicemembers active duty. In marriages of less than ten years the retiree is obligated to pay the former spouse the portion awarded by the court enforceable through the court’s order. Division of the servicemember’s retirement received as disability through the Veteran’s Administration is not divisible in most circumstances.

Have questions regarding military divorce? Contact a skilled Montgomery County military divorce attorney

Military divorces are unique and require knowledge of special federal and state laws. McFarland Law in Clarksville, Tennessee, has served military families at Fort Campbell in all family law matters since 2004. Experienced and knowledgeable in military divorce, including matters of relocation because of a permanent change of duty station and issues of division of military retirement. Attorney Ryan K. McFarland protects your rights as a member of the military, explains the different laws that apply in your situation, and strives for the best possible outcome in your divorce. To arrange a confidential consultation to discuss military divorce and other family matters, contact McFarland Law at (931) 516-9009 or online.