Federal laws complicate military divorces

Virginia is home to many active-duty military personnel who get married and start to raise families. Like civilian couples, some of those marriages end in divorce. Military marriages can be especially troublesome when one spouse is deployed for long periods of time. Military personnel are also on call at all times, including Christmas and birthdays. The pressures of maintaining a military career might contribute to the downfall of a marriage, but military service should never be used to deny parental rights and equitable distribution of marital assets.

Military subject to state and federal divorce laws

A military divorce can be especially complicated due to Virginia and federal divorce laws both applying. While many people are relatively familiar with how state-level divorces proceed, the special regulations of the federal laws governing military divorce are less known. Generally, federal law will apply to assets, such as military pensions, while state law applies to child custody.

Federal courts can decide jurisdiction

A military divorce court also can choose which jurisdiction will apply. One spouse might live in Virginia while another resides in some other location. The federal court would have precedence in choosing which locale will handle the divorce and which state laws will apply in addition to the federal divorce laws for military personnel. Once the local jurisdiction is chosen, the divorce can proceed without any actual court appearances. The divorcing spouses can negotiate through respective attorneys and reach agreements instead of appearing in court.

Support more likely for a military spouse

The nature of military service often means that a divorcing spouse will need to relocate often and might not have income. Spousal support is generally ordered more often in a military divorce for that reason and can put a greater burden on active military personnel. An experienced military divorce attorney in the greater Richmond area may review your case and help to ensure that your rights are upheld.