Military families have unique circumstances and stressors. Often one spouse is left to manage the household responsibilities while the other is away for extended periods of time. There can also be frequent and unexpected moves which require leaving friends and comfortable surroundings. These and other pressures can strain a marriage to the point the couple cannot remain together. When a military family is going through a divorce, they will be confronted with numerous issues. Here are some important considerations regarding military divorce:
Service Member Parents and Time-Sharing
When one parent is a civilian and the other in military service, the question of custody or time-sharing can become complicated. For instance, if the military parent is subject to deployment, they may not be the best person to have majority parenting time. If the civilian parent is going to have the couple's children more than the military parent, they may want to return to their home to be near their support system rather than remain in the same town as the military base. When the custodial parent intends to return to another city, this leaves the military parent with limited opportunities to see their children. Parents faced with this dilemma will need to work together to create a parenting plan which takes the needs of the entire family into consideration. While it may not be possible to remain in the same community, parents can build a plan which supports their relationship with their children and ensures consistent contact.
Service-Related Trauma Issues
When a service member is deployed to a war zone, it is highly likely that they will be exposed to violent and traumatic events. They are often in life-endangering conditions and may have to use deadly force. These kinds of experiences are deeply disturbing and can result in the service member experiencing an array of mental health conditions such as depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) long after that have completed their combat tour. They may also suffer serious injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury which impact their ability to function once they return to their home. When devising a parenting plan under these circumstances, parents need to assess the service member’s ability to cope with their mental health and physical injuries while caring for their children.
Division of Assets
Dividing assets during a military divorce can be complicated. For instance, a percentage of military retirement can be awarded to the non-military spouse based on a specific calculation. After such an award is made, the military will not honor retirement division absent particular language in the divorce documentation and the completion of specific documents. Further, there are other military benefits which could also be part of the equitable distribution process.
Our team of experienced family law lawyers at the Draper Law Office have experience with military divorce cases and can provide you with the advice you need. Contact us online or at (866) 767-4711 today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three locations: St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and Orlando.