Although divorce rates among military personnel have stabilized in recent years, the annual number of military divorces remains in the thousands in Tennessee. Whether you’re going through a difficult time or making a necessary change for yourself and your family, divorces can get complicated. The added caveat of being in the military or having a spouse in the military can lead to additional obstacles. Our legal team put together this post to elaborate on some of the differences between civilian divorce and military divorce in Clarksville, TN.
If you want to skip the research process altogether (trust me, we get it), you’re welcome to schedule a free divorce consultation. All of our attorneys have extensive experience working with military personnel and their spouses. You can reach our office at 931-236-2711 from 8am-4pm, Mon-Fri.
If you’re not quite ready to hire a divorce lawyer (or you just want more info on military divorce in Clarksville, TN), this post is for you.
Military Divorce in TN | Serving Divorce Papers
This is one of the primary hurdles our clients face in military divorce cases. Different branches of the military have different policies when it comes to serving divorce papers to an active duty spouse. These stipulations are in place to protect soldiers’ rights, but it can certainly become an obstacle when filing for divorce. You can usually access free legal assistance through military services, but they do not represent you in court. (That’s where hiring an attorney comes in.)
One potential snag could be that the service member is unable appear in court due to his or her military responsibilities. The service member might be deployed or stationed out of the country, for example. Under these circumstances, the service member could request a 90-day suspension of divorce matters. It is possible for the court to deny this request. However, navigating complications like these can be difficult. And it certainly isn’t worth dragging your family (and your sanity) through months of stressful back-and-forth.
Likewise, the service member stationed abroad in this scenario can have trouble handling a divorce from overseas. Either way, it’s imperative that you hire qualified representation with the foresight and experience necessary to assist you when these issues arise.
Spousal Support and Child Support
When it comes to spousal and child support, the extra allowances a service member makes might not factor into a support order. In some states, certain wages do not count as income. This could include any income that is not part of his/her base pay or income that does not appear on their paycheck. In Tennessee, child support and spousal support awards cannot exceed 60% of the military member’s pay and allowances.
You and your children may also qualify for continued health and dental insurance. Allowance is based on a few factors, including the length of time a service member has been in the military. If you were married to a member of the armed forces for 20 years or more, you would be eligible for permanent medical insurance, a military ID, and other lifelong privileges.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)
In addition to Tennessee’s property division laws, the USFSPA also dictates how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided. For example, a service member’s retirement will not be distributed to a former spouse unless they were married for 10+ years while the member was on active duty. If you hire an attorney that has previously represented military members or their spouses in divorce cases, you will not need extensive knowledge on this subject. But there is public information about USFSPA available on Military OneSource.
Some Final Thoughts & Resources Related to Military Divorce:
You may not run into all of these obstacles, but it’s important that you’re aware of them. Divorce can get sticky, but it can also be necessary for the wellbeing of you and your family. And you definitely aren’t alone. Our attorneys have extensive experience working with military spouses, soldiers, and the Fort Campbell legal system. Initial divorce consultations are free, so you can get any other questions you have answered before you pay. Book an appointment by calling our office or submitting a form here.
As always, if you or your loved one need legal representation in a criminal defense or family matter, reach out to us today.
For additional updates and information on our local court, their departments, as well as our elected officials, visit the Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk website.