We know divorce stinks. It’s not a happy process, and on top of that, it’s complicated. It affects just about every aspect of our lives, from our relationships with our kids to our finances. And, if you serve in the United States military, the process gets even more difficult. Military divorces go by different rules, and many of our clients come to us with questions about the process.
Today we want to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about military divorce in Tennessee.
Do servicemembers in Tennessee have to file for divorce differently than civilians?
Although the process of filing for divorce is the same for everyone, as a member of the military, where you file may differ. Because you or your spouse might not live in Tennessee because of a deployment or base transfer, you should talk with your attorney first about where to file.
If one of you is stationed outside your legal residence, you have a couple choices for jurisdiction:
- The state where a spouse lives
- The state where a spouse claims legal residency
I’m being transferred to another military base. How does this affect my child custody and visitation?
The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) is legislation designed to protect deployed parents facing child custody and visitation proceedings. This includes a process for notifying the other parent about deployment as soon as possible, making out-of-court agreements, expedited hearings for disputes, and other matters. Members of the military are also protected under the law from having any permanent changes made to child custody agreements while deployed. Read more about child custody and relocation.
How is property divided in a military divorce?
Tennessee has its own property division laws, but spouses of servicemembers may also receive benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). The USFSPA authorizes direct payments of a portion of a retired servicemember’s pay to his/her former spouse. However, USFSPA payments don’t kick in unless a couple’s been married 10 years or more, while the spouse was on active duty. Read about dividing a pension in a military divorce.
Do I need a military divorce attorney to handle my divorce?
Any attorney licensed to practice in Tennessee can handle your divorce – however, working with an attorney experienced in military divorce ensures the complicated stuff is done right. Military divorce is subject to both state and federal law, as well as specific circumstances that vary for each couple. Choosing an attorney who knows these laws inside and out can help get you the best outcome for your case, with the least amount of stress involved.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville military family law attorneys are experienced in all aspects of divorce. We take your needs and the needs of your children first, and work to handle your divorce efficiently and quickly. To set up an appointment with one of our attorneys, call our office at (865) 637-6258 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.