If you're getting divorced and one or both of you is a member of the United States military, then you will be facing some unique challenges that don't apply to civilians. While it is possible to obtain a military divorce, the process is not identical to the processes used by non-military spouses.
To illustrate, when the defendant is on full-time duty, a 90-day waiting period applies, even if a couple has lived apart for over two years. Additionally, if the defendant is on full-time military service, the defendant and the plaintiff must sign a waiver affidavit form.
This form is not found in reference books, instead it must be obtained from a Pennsylvania divorce attorney who is familiar with the process of a military divorce.
How are active military spouses protected?
Laws have been established to protect active duty military members from failing to respond to a divorce action because they were stationed out-of-state or overseas and being held in "default." The purpose of these laws is to protect active military members from getting divorced without their knowledge.
Under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, legal proceedings can be temporarily suspended to ensure that the service member's civil rights are not threatened during active duty. Meaning, a divorce proceeding can be put on hold for the entire time that the service member is on duty, and for up to 60 days thereafter.
Dividing Military Pensions
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) governs how military retirement benefits are divided in the event of a divorce. Under federal law, a military member's retirement will not be divided with their spouse unless they have been married for at least 10 years while the member was on active duty or in the military.
To file a military divorce in Pennsylvania, you or your spouse must live or be stationed in Pennsylvania.
Are you or your spouse stationed at Carlisle Barracks, Letterkenny Army Depot, New Cumberland Army Depot, Tobyhanna Army Depot, JRB Willow Grove Navy Base, or NSA Mechanicsburg Navy Base? If you are seeking a divorce, you should consult with an experienced Pennsylvania military divorce lawyer from Cairns Law Offices.
Call now to learn about our free case evaluations, and low-cost divorces!