How Do I File for Military Divorce in Arizona?

If there is a divorce in a family with a military member, the situation is different, and the problems are unique. Additional legal issues are involved with a military divorce, so you need to understand such divorces are different and more complex. Based on that, decisions should be carefully made for a fair and better outcome. You should also consult with an Arizona family law attorney who understands the complexity to file for military divorce in Arizona.

The Process of Filing for Military Divorce

Usually, divorce is filed for in the state of legal residence for one or both parties. The spouse who files divorce usually files in the state where he or she lives. When it comes to a military divorce, proceedings and processes are often different. Before where to file divorce, you need to understand how that state handles military pension divisions in a divorce. Federal law that governs dividing military pensions is known as the “Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act” (USFSPA).

Federal law says that the state where the military service member lives is given legal power to divide the military pension during a divorce. That means if you file divorce somewhere that is not considered to be the legal residence of the person serving in the military, the court that hears the divorce case might not have the legal right to handle the pension division. The military service member can agree to the court’s division of the pension even if he or she doesn’t live in that state. State laws may vary, and some states have additional laws regarding the handling of a military pension during a divorce. A retirement cannot be divided or distributed with the other spouse unless the couple has been married 10 years or longer.

Can the Military Service Member Delay the Divorce Proceedings in Arizona?

When one spouse files for a divorce, the other spouse must file an answer known as a formal response, within a specified time-frame. After filing the response, the court schedules the next steps in the divorce proceedings, such as hearings or mediation. If one spouse is currently serving on active military duty, the federal law can change the deadlines as well as normal court schedules thanks to the Service members Civil Relief Act” (SCRA).

file for military divorce in arizonaA stay for court proceedings can be requested by the spouse in the military, which puts divorce proceedings on hold because military obligations are interfering with current court actions. The initial stay is for 90 days. Additional extensions as the court sees fit can be given after the initial 90 days, but the divorce cannot be postponed forever. The stay was designed to allow the military service member the opportunity to participate in the divorce proceedings.

To request a stay, you must ask in writing. Your divorce attorney can help you with this process. Check with an Arizona family law attorney who is familiar with the procedures to file for military divorce in Arizona. While you can request legal assistance from a JAG attorney on your military base, you might be able to benefit from hiring your own personal divorce attorney. Your attorney will make sure all documents are properly filed and that your rights are protected.

How Are Child Support Amounts Determined in An Arizona Military Divorce?

Just like other divorces, the child support amounts set in military divorces are set by state law. In Arizona, child support and spousal support cannot exceed 60% of the military member’s pay and allowances. A military divorce uses the same guidelines, worksheets and schedules as any other Arizona divorce case. If you are facing a military divorce, consult with an Arizona family law attorney right away.