Military Divorce Lawyers in Clarksville Helping Service Members Through a Difficult Time
At Hibbeler & Associates, we support our military service members, and that includes being able to support them through the divorce process in the family court system. Divorce is rarely easy, but military divorces can be especially complex and have specific issues that need to be addressed. If you have questions about what military divorce looks like, how you can prepare, and what you can do to make the process as smooth as possible, we can help. Below you can find information on military divorce, including key points that we think are important for service members and their spouses to be aware of.
If you need a military divorce lawyer in the Clarksville area, Hibbeler & Associates is here to help. We have a team of experienced family lawyers who have handled military divorces and understand the unique challenges of these situations. Contact our office and schedule a consultation to learn more.
Does Being Active Duty Military Personnel Affect Child Custody?
If you are divorcing and you have children, you will need to have a child custody order put in place. Being on active duty can have a significant effect on your custody order and how it is handled. It can be very difficult for active duty military personnel to be able to be the primary custodian or residential parent because they may be deployed or otherwise have to change locations at any point.
While the court bases its custody decisions on the best interests of the children, preference is often given to parents who are able to provide the most stable environment possible for the child. If the other parent is planning on maintaining a permanent residence after divorce, this could give them an advantage when it comes to determining custody.
What Unique Challenges Do Military Families Face in Divorce?
Military personnel face some unique challenges when it comes to divorce. Find out what those are below and what you need to know.
While all divorces that involve children have to determine child custody, the unique job responsibilities of service members mean that they often cannot work with traditional shared custody and visitation arrangements. This may mean that there has to be a different schedule put in place or that the child custody order has to include provisions for what is to happen if the service member is deployed or transferred to another location.
Child support is another area that is common in divorces, but child support for service members can be slightly different. This is often due to the fact that because of having to move frequently, it’s more common for a service member’s spouse to be a stay-at-home parent or have a low income in comparison to what the service member is making. This may mean that service members have the possibility of paying more in child support.
Once the process of getting a military divorce finalized is done, that doesn’t mean that you’re finished with the family courts. Active duty service members need to plan for the possibility of needing to make frequent modifications to court orders if their job means they can no longer use their scheduled parenting time or need to change the custody order if they are deployed. It’s worth talking to your attorney to see if you can put specific sections in the order to deal with these circumstances, so you don’t have to go back to court for a modification every time.
What Is the 20/20/15 Rule?
The 20/20/15 rule is a rule that applies to military divorces and relates to whether the ex-spouse of a service member gets to keep their TRICARE benefits. The 20/20/15 rule states that the ex-spouse may keep TRICARE benefits for 1 year as long as three conditions are met:
- The service member had at least 20 years of service
- The marriage lasted at least 20 years
- The years of marriage and the years of service have at least a 15-year overlap.
There is also a similar 20/20/20 rule that is laid out much the same. However, it allows the ex-spouse to keep their TRICARE benefits after divorce as long as they continue to remain eligible. For the 20/20/20 rule, the marriage and years of service have to be at least 20 years each, and the period of overlap has to be at least 20 years.
If you have questions about how divorce affects your access to military healthcare or military retirement benefits, talk to an attorney who has experience with military divorces.
How Long Does a Military Divorce Take?
In general, divorces involving military families take about the same time as those involving civilian families. There are three main factors to keep in mind when determining how long a divorce will take. The first is that the state of Tennessee has a mandatory waiting period of 60 to 90 days, depending on if you have children, from the date of filing before the divorce can be finalized. The second is that active duty service members may also possibly be able to put divorce proceedings on hold for 90 days if their service obligations make it difficult or impossible to be able to take part in the proceedings.
The last factor is how much the two parties can agree on. The longer it takes to decide on each issue in the divorce, the longer it will take before the divorce can be finalized. If at all possible, work with the other party to come to an agreement on major issues like property division, child custody, and alimony so that the proceedings don’t have to take longer than necessary.
Reach out to a military divorce attorney to talk about your situation and get your questions answered by calling 931-236-2711. We know that this is a difficult and confusing time, and we want to make the divorce process as smooth as possible so you can move forward with your life.