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Military Divorce

Montgomery Military Divorce Lawyer Protects Your Rights

Specific experience representing service members and military spouses

When service members or military spouses seek a divorce, there are special considerations for the process and the substantive law. To fully protect your interests, you must retain an experienced attorney who has handled military divorces. At the Law Office of Judy H. Barganier and Winston W. Edwards, P.C., you get knowledgeable assistance from an accomplished attorney who has helped numerous clients from Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Fort Rucker in Dale County, and other military posts throughout Alabama.

Military divorce: where federal and state law meet

When a military couple divorces in Alabama, the case proceeds under state law, but with deference to specific protections for service members and spouses found in federal law. The first consideration is whether the couple qualifies for an Alabama divorce under the residency requirement. To qualify, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. However, if you’ve lived in the state for less than six months, you can still get divorced here if your spouse does not object to the court exercising jurisdiction.

If you previously lived in another state, you may have a choice of where to file for divorce. In that case, you should compare how different states treat divorce. For example, each state has its own child support guidelines. Alabama law also allows courts to consider marital misconduct, such as adultery, when deciding on alimony and division of property, while many other states do not. If you consider yourself a wronged “innocent” spouse, filing for divorce in Alabama might produce a better financial outcome. Our firm has experience in divorces alleging marital misconduct, including adultery, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

Once you have decided to divorce in Alabama, there are rights and benefits under federal law that you should understand:

  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act — The SCRA allows active-duty personnel to request a stay (i.e., a delay) in proceedings if their duties prevent them from participating in the case. The initial stay is for at least 90 days and can be renewed.
  • Military pensions — A military spouse can get as big a share of a service member’s pension as the court decides is fair under the state’s laws of equitable distribution. However, if a couple has been married for at least 10 years and during at least 10 years of active duty service, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) will guarantee payment by garnishing the service member’s pension.
  • Spouse’s right to healthcare coverage after divorce — The 20/20 rule allows a spouse who has been married to a service member for at least 20 years of the service member’s active service to keep no-cost medical coverage under TRICARE. A former spouse who does not remarry is covered by TRICARE for life. A former spouse who does not qualify for TRICARE under the 20/20 rule may purchase coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP).
  • Thrift Savings Plan — TSP is a retirement savings plan that is subject to equitable distribution between the spouses.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan — SBP is a death benefit service members can purchase. The court can require a service member to buy an SBP as a condition of divorce.

When you retain our firm for your military divorce, we provide the compassion, experience, and professionalism necessary to handle your sensitive issues and deliver the best possible outcome.

Contact a knowledgeable lawyer for military divorce in Montgomery

Military divorce calls for specific knowledge of state and federal law, which many civil divorce attorneys simply do not have. The Law Office of Judy H. Barganier and Winston W. Edwards, P.C. provides experienced counsel for military divorce throughout Alabama. To schedule a consultation, call us at 334-530-5701 or contact our Montgomery office online. We are located at 8314 Crossland Loop, just off Vaughn Road, half a mile east of Taylor Road.

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Our Office
  • Montgomery Office
    8314 Crossland Loop
    Montgomery, Alabama 36117
    Phone: 334-271-7110
    Fax: 334-271-3110