The Military Divorce Process

By Giselle Diamond

Introduction

A great deal of work should go into a marriage, but it takes a lot more if you're married to someone in the military. Sometimes people find it's too hard. The military divorce process is lengthy, but it can be done.

Separating

This will differ according to the state in which you live. The way you act during this time could play a major role in the divorce. If there are children involved and you leave the home, the courts may look at it that you abandoned your children and it will be harder for you to gain custody. The longer you stay in the home, the more leeway you could potentially get in the divorce. The more your spouse wants to get a divorce, the more likely he will agree to your terms of the divorce. However, if there is abuse in the home, get out immediately.
  Dating is not suggested during a separation--especially if there are children and custody issues involved--although casual dating might not be frowned upon by the courts. If you're with another person for long periods or spending the night with them, the court may question your moral standards. Also, your spouse may become envious and try to make the divorce more difficult.

Dating could also lead to accusations that you were been unfaithful before the separation. If you are active-duty military and are proven to have committed adultery, there will be a prison term of up to 7 years. If the spouse has proven to have committed adultery, that's a prison term of up to 4 years. This is served in a military brig, not a civilian jail.

If a person is active-duty military and going through a divorce, most times the superior officers will ask them to go to counseling to deal with these issues. This is very crucial if going through the divorce while in a war zone. A soldier's mind must be able to focus on the task at hand.

The Beginning

To start the process, you or your spouse must file a petition. This document asks the court to terminate the marriage. This will then be given to your spouse. If your spouse doesn't have anything she wants to fight for (an uncontested divorce), she may sign to save time and money. If your spouse doesn't answer the petition within the allotted time, she has no right to be at the hearing of your divorce or submit anything for evidence. The courts will only hear your side and make the decision based on your side.

After the Petition Has Been Served

You and your spouse may want to hire an attorney to represent you both to save money. This is actually not a conflict of interest. After the petition has been served and there is real estate or children involved, a discovery will take place. This is when your spouse is asked a series of questions he must answer under oath. If a person in the military tries to seek full custody of the children, it's highly unlikely this will be awarded. The court looks at who can provide the most stable environment for the children. Being in the military can mean late nights at work or being called up for active duty.

Orders that are not permanent can be enforced by the court. These are usually done to state who can live in the home, who can use the bank cards, or who gets custody of the children for the time being. This is done until the court can make a final decision.

Negotiations should take place with an attorney present. This is to help settle fees and other matters.

Court Appearance

This is when you present your side on issues such as custody, property and money. After you and your spouse have presented your case, the judge makes his final ruling. You may appeal.

About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.