Atlanta, GA Military Divorce Lawyer

When most couples get divorced, their divorce follows the law of the state they live in. When one of the spouses is in the armed forces, federal law also applies to certain aspects of the divorce.

If you or your spouse is a member of the armed forces and you are considering getting a divorce, it might be more complicated than you expect. Work with an experienced Atlanta, GA military divorce lawyer to ensure you meet your goals.

JAG Cannot Help With Divorce

Military members and their families are entitled to free legal services through the Judge Adjutant General Corps (JAG). However, a JAG attorney cannot represent a client in a divorce.

Divorce is a civil matter that takes place in state civil courts. The JAG is not authorized to provide legal services for military members in civil court. In addition, JAGs need not be licensed in the state where they serve, but a military divorce attorney representing someone in the Atlanta family court must be licensed in Georgia.

Divorce laws vary among states, and a JAG may not be familiar with the laws that apply to divorces here. The attorneys at our firm are licensed to practice in local family courts, know the applicable law and local procedures, and are familiar with the issues that arise in military divorces. Contact us when you start considering divorce to learn what to expect.

Procedural Requirements Are Different When a Spouse Is in the Military

When a military spouse is on active duty, federal law gives them the right to delay legal proceedings by 90 days. They could then request a further delay which the judge could grant at their discretion. It is important for the other spouse to consider how delays might impact the divorce proceedings and plan accordingly.

Additionally, when civilian personnel file for divorce, one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the divorce petition is filed for at least six months. When one or both spouses reside on a military base in the state, they must have lived there for at least one year to meet the Georgia residency requirement. If neither spouse lives in the state but the last time they lived together as a couple was in Georgia, they may still file for divorce here. It is important to check with an Atlanta attorney to learn whether a local court would have jurisdiction over your military divorce.

Unique Issues Arise When Service Members Divorce

There are aspects of both state and federal law that impact the outcome of Atlanta, GA divorce proceedings involving members of the military. It is critical to work with an attorney with expertise in these matters.

Property Division

A couple must divide their marital property equitably when they divorce. Marital property is anything either spouse acquired during the marriage with few exceptions. The portion of a service member’s retirement benefits that accrued during the marriage is marital property.

A service member’s retirement benefits may be the most valuable asset a couple has. When they divorce, the non-military spouse may be entitled to a portion of the military spouse’s retirement pay. In addition, former military spouses may be entitled to shop at base commissaries and receive healthcare under TRICARE. These benefits must be considered when crafting an equitable property division settlement.

Issues Regarding Children

The law does not discriminate between parents and provides equal custody rights to each regardless of gender. Ideally, parents create a parenting plan together, they submit it to the family court, and the judge approves it if it is in the children’s best interests. As children grow and their needs change, parents can request to modify the parenting plan.

Under the Official Code of Georgia § 19-9-3(i), when a deployment requires changes to the custody arrangement, a judge can issue a temporary parenting plan modification for the duration of the deployment plus a transition time back to the original plan. When a service member requests a deployment-related modification, the Georgia courts must prioritize adding the matter to their calendars.

There are many other provisions of the law that apply to deploying military parents and access to their children. Military parents and their co-parents should be aware of these provisions and consider them carefully when developing a parenting plan.

Contact an Atlanta, GA Divorce Attorney for Help If You or Your Spouse Is in the Military

Divorce is a stressful event in people’s lives. The complications that the couple must navigate when one of them is in the military can increase the strain and anxiety surrounding divorce.

Working with one of our capable Atlanta, GA military divorce lawyers can ease the process considerably. Our firm is familiar with the issues that arise in military divorces and has the skills to handle them. Get in touch with one of our team members today to get started.

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