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Tennessee General Law Blog

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Is Divorce Different for Those Enlisted in the Army?

If you or your spouse is a member of the army and you are seeking a divorce, it is important that you know which rules and regulations apply. Call our law firm for help specific to your case.

If you or your spouse is enlisted in the United States Army, then the process of filing for divorce, responding to a divorce petition, and finalizing the divorce may be different than it is for civilians who live in Manchester and surrounding areas of Tennessee. For help navigating the process and for clarity about what is the same and what is different for those who are enlisted in the army and are filing for divorce, reach out to our skilled family law attorneys in Manchester at the office of Burch, Morrison, & Stewart.

Filing for a Divorce and Serving a Divorce Petition and Summons

The first thing you should know about filing for a divorce in Tennessee, regardless of army status, is that either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state, which means that either you, your spouse, or both have lived within Tennessee for at least six months.

For regular civilians, the petitioner must serve the defendant with divorce papers, and the respondent must file a response within a required amount of time. Per the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act,though, servicemembers are protected from default judgments.

Grounds for Military Divorce

The grounds for a military divorce in Tennessee are the same as the grounds for a civilian divorce. In Tennessee, the list of grounds for divorce is long, and includes adultery, impotency, entering into a second marriage, desertion, habitual drunkenness, cruel treatment, and more. Most couples, however, choose to file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences.

Resolving Issues in a Military Divorce

In order for a divorce to be finalized in Tennessee, a couple must come to an agreement about how issues in the divorce will be resolved, such as the division of property, child custody, alimony, etc. While a couple may work together outside of the court system to reach an agreement, sometimes, the intervention of the court is required. If this is the case, both Tennessee laws and rules set by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) will apply. Per these rules, the military will not provide any of the military member’s retirement benefits to the spouse unless the couple has been married for at least 10 years. Furthermore, a child support and alimony award cannot exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances.

Get Help Navigating Your Army Divorce

Getting divorced can be tough and having to navigate a whole new set of laws in addition to Tennessee’s state laws can make the whole thing that much more complicated. At the law offices of Burch, Morrison, & Stewart, our family law attorneys have experience representing members of the U.S. Army and their spouses, and can provide you with the counsel and guidance you need. If you are pursuing a divorce and you are enlisted in the army or married to someone who is enlisted in the army, we can help. Reach out to our team directly today to learn more.

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