Close to 4 percent of married people in the armed forces get divorced. Whether you're a newly enlisted army soldier or a decorated marine officer, you need to understand the details that'll help you split your marriage. The guidelines in this article will lay out exactly what you should do to get started.
Understand how your circumstances will be different going through a military divorce
There are no two ways about it -- there are far greater stakes and circumstances in a military divorce than in a civilian divorce. For one, your lawyer needs to be aware of The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the rights and obligations that come with it. This act gives either spouse more power in suspending the divorce process.
Learn how your military benefits package will be distributed or altered as the result of your divorce. Since these matters may affect your career, the rest of your life, and any dependants you both have, you'll need to hash out every detail.
Handle the preliminary matters before filing your divorce papers
Financial matters are among the biggest details you'll need to consider. This includes determining how you will split up debt between you and your spouse. The average household has about $6,000 in credit card debt alone. Figure out what debts you hold jointly and which can clearly be attributed to one spouse.
You can get a free credit report each year that should highlight all of the pertinent information you need to know. This may require you to close certain bank accounts and credit lines.
Debt aside, you'll also need to see how you're going to split real estate, stocks, bonds, and other assets. Think about long-term financial implications, such as child support and spousal support, if applicable.
Contract with a divorce lawyer that addresses military cases, and file your petition
You'll need the assistance of the best divorce lawyer you can find -- but make sure that they also specialize in military divorces. If your divorce is contested you might pay about $15,000 with the help of a lawyer.
If you're going to engage in a cooperative divorce, meditation services are a necessity. This helps you create workable compromises for the divorce itself and the way you're going to move forward. Depending on the details of what ended your marriage, it may be worthwhile to look into creating a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This can be arranged as part of a mediation settlement.
Use these tips and find a military divorce lawyer today.
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