Mansfield Military Divorce Attorney
Representing Massachusetts Servicemembers in Court
Divorce poses unique challenges when one or both spouses are in the military. At the Ostendorf Law Group, PLLC, we help those who serve our country and their spouses deal with the unique challenges of military divorce. Our military divorce attorneys in Mansfield can answer your questions and guide you through the process. Headed by former legislator Attorney Ostendorf, our team is among a small number of Massachusetts firms that are admitted to all military courts and have experience in military family law.
Take control of your case today. If you have questions or need help with a military divorce, call (508) 593-1408 or contact us online to speak with a Mansfield military divorce attorney about your situation in a free consultation.
Differences Between Military and Civilian Divorce
Military divorces differ from civilian divorces in a few key ways. The most prominent differentiator is how federal regulations and military codes apply to military divorces. For example, military divorces are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in addition to the state laws where the divorce is taking place. Generally, federal rules and military regulations override state laws during divorce cases.
There are two kinds of military divorce: contested and uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both parties totally agree on how the divorce should proceed. That means both parties have reached an agreement concerning:
- Spousal support or alimony
- Child custody
- Property division
- How the divorce will affect each party's taxes and insurance
How Long Does Military Divorce Take?
- Uncontested divorces typically take less time to process, since both parties are on the same page for all issues. In a contested divorce, both parties disagree on how the divorce should proceed.
- Contested divorces can take as long as 15 months to process for the civilian population, and that process becomes even more complicated when a servicemember is involved. Factors such as redeployment to active-duty status or a different base can play a role in how the divorce case proceeds. If you have concerns about filing for a contested military divorce, you should speak with a family lawyer like Attorney Ostendorf, who has experience with military divorce.
There are precise rules regarding jurisdiction, military members on deployment, and property and asset division. For example, special rules governing military pensions may affect your divorce. It is essential to hire an attorney who knows the laws that govern military divorces.
Child Support and Alimony in Military Divorce
Child support and alimony are two areas of divorce keenly affected by the presence of a servicemember.
Concerning alimony, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) eases legal burdens for active-duty servicemembers. For example, in most cases, active-duty service members can't be served with divorce papers (which is a requirement for successfully filing for a divorce). In other words, if you're the partner of a servicemember and intend on filing for divorce, you should do so before your soon-to-be-ex engages in active-duty. If you file for divorce after your partner leaves for active duty, the divorce proceedings will likely be delayed until they return.
If active duty pulls a servicemember away during or immediately after the divorce is finalized, the SCRA exists to alleviate the burden of divorce provisions such as child support or alimony on the servicemember. However, in instances where a servicemember's ex may fall upon immediate hardship without receiving alimony or child support, a court can issue a support award regardless of the SCRA.
Service members are under different alimony and child support obligations than civilians. Every branch of the military has its own regulations and codes governing how responsible servicemembers are for support and alimony payments. Different branches of the military also use different support and alimony calculators to determine how much a servicemember needs to pay their ex.
Military codes and regulations governing child support and alimony take precedence over court laws. If you have questions about how child support or alimony requirements will be determined in your specific case, ask a lawyer with knowledge of military divorce.
Servicemembers receive pay in a different manner than civilians. Typically, servicemembers receive pay through a variety of sources. For example, in addition to their base pay, many soldiers also receive a certain amount of money per month for food or other resources they can buy on base. When determining income for alimony and support payments in Massachusetts, a servicemember's entire monthly monetary compensation—including compensation such as supplies or meal credits—is used to decide that servicemember's support and alimony obligations.
Military divorces become increasingly complex when children are involved. The lifestyle of a servicemember can be uncertain, so establishing a custody plan is often difficult. Nonetheless, courts require individuals engaged in a military divorce to draft a parenting plan that accounts for various aspects of military life (such as redeployment) and specifies how the parents will share custody.
Military Divorce Visitation Rights in MA
Massachusetts courts emphasize stable homes and parental involvement. In civilian families, the initial visitation schedule may work until the children grow up and move away. For military parents, the visitation schedule is subject to change at any moment. When you are nearing deployment, you may want extra time with your children. If you are facing relocation, you and your ex may need to re-evaluate where the children will live and how extended school breaks will play out.
Do You Have Questions About Military Divorce? Our Attorneys serving Bristol County have Answers.
Our military divorce lawyer has the knowledge and experience to answer any questions you may have about military divorce.
We can answer common questions asked by military members and their spouses, including:
- How will my military pension be affected?
- What do I do if I am served divorce papers on active duty?
- Where will the divorce case be settled or litigated?
- Where can I send divorce papers to a spouse on active duty?
- Can custody decisions be made while I am on active duty?
Our attorney and top-notch legal team represent members of the military and their spouses in divorce cases. We have extensive knowledge of military law regarding divorce. Whether your situation is easy to resolve and you and your spouse are in agreement on the major issues, or the case is hotly contested, we will always represent your interests and advocate for your rights.
Got questions? Need help? Fire away! If you need help with a military divorce, contact us online or call (508) 593-1408 to learn how our extensive knowledge of the law can benefit your case.
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