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Cullman Military Divorce Attorney

Divorce is never easy, but when one or both spouses are members of the Armed Services, the process can be even more difficult. Military divorces have unique concerns and issues that do not apply to civilian divorces. An experienced Cullman County military divorce lawyer can help you navigate the challenging road ahead and understand your rights. 

The attorneys at Hankey Law Firm represent members of the armed forces in divorce and other family law matters. We’ve been advocating for military and civilian clients for over a decade and will fight to help you achieve a favorable outcome in your divorce.  

Contact or call us today to schedule a consultation. 

What Is the Difference Between a Typical Divorce and a Military Divorce? 

Military divorces are very different from civilian divorces. Unlike a traditional divorce, which is governed only by state law, military divorces are also governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. 

Under the USFSPA: 

  • Courts may treat military retired pay as marital property  
  • Former spouses who do not remarry may receive certain privileges and benefits, including access to healthcare 
  • Former spouses may (in some cases) receive a portion of retired pay directly from the government  

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) helps protect the rights of service members who are on active duty by providing: 

  • Protection against default judgments. When a spouse is served divorce papers in Alabama, they have 30 days to respond. Failing to respond can lead to a default judgment in favor of the spouse who filed the divorce petition. The SCRA may provide protection in this case. 
  • An extension of civil proceedings. If the serving spouse can show that they are unable to attend proceedings for duty reasons, then an extension may be granted. 

In a military divorce, Alabama law still applies to property division. 

These are just a few of the ways that military divorces differ from civilian divorces. As your Cullman County military divorce lawyer, we can help you understand the laws that will apply to your case, your rights and the possible outcomes. 

What If I Am Deployed at the Time of the Divorce?  

Service members who are deployed at the time of divorce can choose to carry on with the proceedings or delay the divorce until after deployment. Deployed service members are protected under the SCRA, which affords them protection against default judgments.  

The divorce process can be incredibly complicated in a deployment scenario. The SCRA’s protection allows you to file for a stay on the proceedings, so you can focus on your job and worry about divorce after you return. 

Filing For a Military Divorce  

The filing process for a military divorce is similar to a traditional divorce. However, things can get tricky if the spouse who is filing for divorce doesn’t meet the state’s residency requirement. In Alabama, you must live in the state for six months in order to file for divorce, and you must be able to prove residency in the state.  

Merely being stationed in Alabama will not help you meet this requirement. 

For many couples, residency requirements like these aren’t an issue. However, military families tend to relocate often, which can make it challenging to know when and where to file for divorce.  

Our attorneys can help guide you through the filing process and help you understand the process that will follow after the filing. There are several ways the USFSPA and SCRA can affect the divorce proceedings: 

  • If one spouse is on active duty, divorce proceedings will be delayed if they request a stay. 
  • A non-serving spouse may be entitled to a portion of the serving spouse’s retirement pay. 
  • Property division and child custody can be complex, as federal and state laws may apply. 

Knowing what to expect and how to navigate these challenges can help make your divorce less stressful and contentious. 

How Can Your Retirement Be Impacted by a Military Divorce? 

Retirement benefits are an asset, and as a Cullman County military divorce lawyer, we know that the law is very complex. Spouses are entitled to retirement benefits in a military divorce, but very specific requirements must be met under the USFSPA: 

  • 10+ years of marriage to the service member 
  • Service members must have been on active duty during the 10-year or longer marriage 

If you meet the requirements above, direct payments from the military will be sent to the non-serving spouse. 

Up to 50% of disposable retirement pay can be rewarded to an ex-spouse of a military member, but this figure may be higher if alimony or child support is granted. 

Alabama courts can decide to divide a military member’s retirement and consider it as marital property, too. However, there are cases when the full share of the retirement is not divided.  

If the military member isn’t receiving a pension yet, which often occurs, matters are even more complex. 

Working with an attorney is the ideal way to navigate retirement issues because many laws apply. For example: 

  • Spouses may also receive additional benefits if they were married for at least 20 years and the service member had 20 years of service that overlapped. 
  • The 20/20/20 rule allows a former spouse to receive TRICARE medical benefits.  

How Long Could a Military Divorce Take in Alabama? 

Multiple factors must be considered when trying to determine the length of a divorce proceeding. Alabama law has a minimum of a 30-day waiting period between the time of filing for divorce and dissolution. 

Your divorce may be complete in the next thirty days if everything aligns perfectly. 

Often, divorces take longer than the waiting period because of: 

  • Disagreements between both parties 
  • Disputes on agreements for child support, asset division, and other matters 
  • Hidden assets or high net worth 

If you and your spouse agree on all terms, we can work through your divorce quickly. 

Military divorces can move along this rapidly, but you may also have a much longer time between filing and the divorce. If the military member is deployed: 

  • The service member may not want to participate in the divorce yet 
  • Laws would then prevent the divorce from proceeding until after the deployment 

In the ideal situation, your divorce will take a few months to resolve. If there are many disagreements or the service member is deployed, the divorce can take a year or more. 

We’ll need to review your unique case to better understand how long your divorce may take. 

Hiring A Cullman Military Divorce Lawyer Near You 

Military divorce requires aggressive representation. Our attorneys have been proudly serving Cullman County for many years and have the experience necessary to navigate your divorce proceedings. 

Delays are common, as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows a spouse to stay proceedings while deployed or on active duty. 

Our compassionate legal team will offer you: 

  • Dedicated support throughout the entire divorce 
  • Easy, fast communication through our client portal 
  • Experience working through complex divorce matters 

We’re here to help provide a comprehensive plan to negotiate on the division of assets, work through the challenges of a military divorce, and assist with any child custody or support questions. 

Call us at (256) 736-8744 or schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you through your military divorce.