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How does a military divorce differ from a civilian divorce?

When servicemen and women from Minnesota decide to file a divorce, there are certain rules and requirements that apply. These rules don't necessary make the divorce more complicated, but they do govern such details as where to file for divorce and how to split military pensions. Here are some requirements that are unique to military divorces.

Civilian divorces are typically a state matter only. Military divorces, on the other hand, must abide by federal laws as well. Federal laws may dictate where the couple will go to court or how military benefits will be split. State laws affect alimony and child support. Another unique law is that when a person is on active duty, he or she is usually exempt from divorce. They cannot file for divorce or be sued while defending their country and this protection lasts for 60 days after returning home from war.

Also, military couples have three options when deciding where to file for divorce. It can be the state where the serviceman or woman is stationed, the state where the filing spouse lives or the state in which the service member is a legal resident. This is because, for the most part, states will eliminate the residency requirement for military personnel.

Military benefits may be split in a divorce. If the couple was married for at least 10 years, the spouse of the military member will receive his or her share of the retirement plan. If the couple was married for 20 years or more, the service member's spouse is eligible to receive medical insurance and other benefits.

It is important to ensure all requirements are met when military personnel end their marriage. Servicemen and women who are going through a divorce may want to discuss their unique situation with an experienced lawyer.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce," accessed Feb, 8, 2015

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