Military Divorces in Maryland
What You Need to Know If You’re in the Military and Seeking Divorce
You’ve traveled across the country following your military spouse. You have been the rock in the family who is always there for your children and everyone else when your partner is away on duty. Sure, you’ve faced plenty of challenges and experienced difficult and frightening times due to the nature of the job, but you’ve hung in there and were happy to do it.
Now you’re about to face another obstacle in life: a divorce. Staying in a marriage in which one spouse is in the military and the other is a civilian is tough. The pressure and stress that this type of situation creates is extremely difficult to manage and sometimes, you just have to break free.
What You Need to Know About Military Divorce in Maryland
A military divorce is quite different from a civilian divorce. Military divorces consist of rules and regulations that are unique to them. The military governs a majority of the aspects of the divorce, and those who serve are often affected by them in ways civilians are not.
- Postponement. As part of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, a military divorce can be postponed for the whole time the military member is on active duty, and for up to 60 days afterward.
- Property division. There are additional federal regulations, such as those under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, that affect the division and distribution of military earnings in a divorce.
- Child and spousal support. While military divorces do use Maryland child support guidelines, alimony and child support are also subject to additional rules and military regulations.
Locating Your Spouse
Another issue that is unique to military couples is not knowing where the spouses are. Civilian partners aren’t always sure of the exact locations of their spouses, which can become problematic when a divorce is decided upon. You will be tasked with locating your spouse, as he or she will have to be personally served with a summons and copy of the divorce action, unless your spouse agrees to an uncontested divorce. This must take place in order for a court in Maryland to have jurisdiction over your spouse.
Here, we offer tips on how to find your spouse in order to serve him and receive a divorce:
- Start with the Social Security number. It’s important that you know your spouse’s Social Security number, as it is an identifier for all members of the armed forces. If you don’t know your spouse’s Social Security number, take a look at your old loan applications or income tax returns. The number should be on those documents.
- Visit the recruiting office. A recruiter who works at the officer at which your spouse signed up for the military might be able to help you track down your spouse with minimal trouble.
- The last assignment. If you know where your spouse was last stationed, you can check with the military’s base locator office, which has a duty of locating service members. If the base locator office is too busy to help, you can try to get in touch with your spouse’s former commanding officer; he or she might be aware of your spouse’s current location.
If you have exhausted your search to no avail, or simply want help doing so, a divorce attorney can assist you with your task.
Jimeno & Gray, P.A., Can Help
Military divorce law is complex and multi-tiered. The last thing you’ll want to do is try to tackle one on your own. Doing so could result in you unwittingly forfeiting your rights to certain benefits, or accidentally hurting your case.
It’s best to consult a lawyer to help you navigate your divorce and explain all the regulations you’ll be subject to.
The attorneys of Jimeno & Gray, P.A., have helped many military couples get the divorces they desire. Being so close to Ft. Meade and the Naval Base, our legal team is experienced and well-versed in military laws and the special challenges that those in the military face when it comes to divorce.
Contact us today to speak with a lawyer about your situation and find out how we may be able to help you. Fill out our online form, talk with us through our website chat feature, or give us a call. Be sure to request your free copy of the book What Your Spouse Doesn’t Want You to Know: The Ultimate Guide to Divorce in Maryland, written by attorney Frank Gray.
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Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire
Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
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