Military personnel and their spouses undergoing a divorce have a few more legal matters to consider than their civilian counterparts, as divorces involving servicemen and women are governed by both state and federal laws. Working with an experienced military divorce attorney can aid military members and their spouse through this transition.
- Protection from divorce proceedings – Members of the military have certain protections under the law from being divorced without their knowledge and to keep them from being held in default because of foreign postings. According to federal law and Nevada court precedent, servicemen and women can postpone divorce proceedings for the entire time active service members are on duty, and for up to 60 days thereafter. This often occurs when service members are serving in a war. Service members can waive the right to postpone the divorce if they wish.
- Property division – Regular Nevada property laws and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act govern how divorce courts calculate and divide military retirement benefits in the event of a divorce. Under the law, military retirement benefits will not be divided and distributed to divorcing spouses unless they were married for 10 years or more while the serviceman or woman was an active duty member of the military.
- Residency requirements and grounds – To obtain a divorce in Nevada, a military member or his or her spouse must be a Nevada resident, or the member must be stationed in Nevada. Nevada residency is fairly easy to establish, making the state an attractive venue for divorce proceedings. Nevada law also offers easy grounds for divorce, as all divorcing spouses must do is claim incompatibility for a no-fault divorce.
- Child and spousal support – Under Nevada law, child and spousal support awarded to the spouse of a member of the military cannot exceed 60 percent of that member’s pay and allowances. The military has very strict rules about the timely payment of child and spousal support, and members who do not pay court-ordered support can face disciplinary action, including expulsion from the military.
Military divorce rates have been declining in recent years as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down, resulting in fewer of the lengthy deployments that are often a key contributing factor in divorces of servicemen and women. In 2014, only 3.1 percent of military personnel divorced. In 2011, about 3.7 percent of servicemen and women divorced. Military divorces still happen, however, and, when they do, it’s always advisable to find sound legal advice.
Members of the armed forces or their spouses who are getting a divorce in the state of Nevada should search for a divorce attorney with experience in military divorces. Nevada residents seeking a skilled Las Vegas divorce attorney can trust the McFarling Law Group to assist them during this trying time. McFarling Law Group attorneys have experience in military divorces, and owner Emily McFarling is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and a recipient of the Pre-eminent AV Rating. To learn more, call 702-565-4335.