Military Divorce Lawyer in Greenville, NC
Due to our proximity to several military bases, including Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Carteret County is home to a large population of both active and retired members of the armed forces. If you or your spouse are currently serving or have retired, and you choose to divorce, having an experienced military divorce attorney in Greenville, NC who understands the key differences between military and civilian divorce can help you get a more favorable outcome.
Filing for a Military Divorce
While members of the military and their spouses do have access to free legal counsel it’s important to note that they can’t represent you in court nor do military courts handle divorce, property distribution, or child custody. For these issues, you’ll need a private attorney to provide the counsel, representation, and negotiation you need.
In order to file for divorce in North Carolina, you must fulfill two specific requirements. First, you must be fully separated from your spouse for 12 months and one day. Second, you must be a permanent resident of North Carolina for at least six months prior to filing. For those who are stationed in North Carolina, you may still not be a permanent resident of the state, but you can show residency through having a North Carolina driver’s license, vehicle registration, and voter registration. Owning a home or other out-of-state ties can stand in the way of showing permanent residency.
Working with a military divorce attorney who can ensure you meet the requirements and file paperwork on your behalf reduces the possibility of errors that can cost time and delay finalizing your divorce.
Serving a Spouse on Active Duty
Once paperwork is filed and your spouse has been served divorce papers, they have 30 days to respond. For active duty service members who are deployed, this may be complicated. In some cases, depending on where they are located, they may not be able to receive paperwork or are unable to respond in a timely manner. They can submit a written request that their military service is creating an obstacle that is keeping them from responding to the divorce paperwork, and if their request is approved, they can get an additional 60 days.
Property Distribution and Division of Military Benefits
North Carolina judges determine property separation through equitable distribution. This means that property and belongings are divided fairly, not necessarily 50/50 as they take into account both parties’ incomes and earning potential, health, and child custody. During military divorces, not only are property and possessions divided, military benefits and pensions may be a part of the divorce settlement.
Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, if two people are married for at least ten years and the spouse in the military served for 10 creditable years, the other party may receive a portion of direct pension during the divorce. If the marriage was at least 20 years and the spouse served 20 years, the other party may receive full pension, commissary privileges, and TRICARE medical benefits.
Child Custody During a Military Divorce
Child custody matters are also affected by a military divorce. While custody is still determined by what arrangement is in the best interest of the child, there are additional factors. For example, if a parent is deployed, how will that affect visitation and custody? This is where an attorney can fight for making up missed visitation time, scheduled video calls, and other ways to stay connected, even if a parent is serving overseas.
Child support also has a key difference in a military divorce. While the amount is determined in the same fashion and based on custody, income, and other factors, how it is enforced does change. When a parent fails to pay their child support, the parent who is owed can petition both civilian court and the spouse’s commanding officer. Failing to pay child support can lead to disciplinary action.
Choosing a Military Divorce Attorney
Having a private attorney who is experienced in military divorce can help you achieve a more favorable outcome in your case. Not only will you receive personalized counsel, but you will have a better understanding of what you are entitled to, both from a civilian and a military perspective. From creating a separation agreement to protect you during the lengthy separation period to creating a custody plan that will benefit every member of the family, having someone on your side to look out for your best interests can put you in a better position once your divorce is finalized.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Military Divorce Attorneys in Greenville, NC
If you are ready to file for divorce and you or your spouse are a member of the Armed Forces, reach out to the military divorce lawyers at Irons & Irons, P.A. We have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the process and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.
If you are ready to schedule an initial consultation, call our experienced divorce attorneys at 252-888-5164 or contact us by using the form below.