One divorce is a lot like another, right? Wrong! If you’re a military servicemember, or the spouse of a military servicemember, your divorce is different from a civilian’s in a thousand little ways.
No two divorces are the same, but we do see some similarities between divorces when we classify them based on similar characteristics. Sometimes, we classify marriages based on length of marriage, because that’s one factor that we see that seems to have an impact on multiple areas of the divorce. For one thing, there’s more complicated property division the longer a couple has been married. For another, length of marriage is a major factor that affects whether (and for how long) a person might qualify to receive spousal support. As you can probably imagine, the longer you’ve been married, the longer you may be entitled to receive spousal support. Not only that, but length of marriage affects child custody and visitation, mostly because in shorter term marriages, the children tend to be younger. When you’re dealing with custody and visitation of a very young child, you have to think about custody and visitation as the child grows up. What is appropriate for a breastfeeding baby is not the same as what works for a 17 year old kid with a driver’s license. In marriages where the children are younger, it’s more important that the parents take time now to carve out a custody and visitation arrangement that allows room for visitation to expand, adapt, or change as the child grows older–otherwise, it may be that the parents keep taking each other to court every time it needs a change.
When you get divorced, you need to think about the future. Imagine what it will look like. And then, along with your attorney, work backwards, so that you can give yourself the kind of future you want. Part of that means thinking critically now, asking the right questions, and getting the help that you need to achieve the results you want.
Military divorces have a lot of similarities, and it’s important to hire an attorney who is experienced in navigating the “alphabet soup” of the military. Whether it’s BAH, SBP, or TSP, you need to have an attorney who speaks military.