Armstrong Law, P.C.

How do I handle a military divorce?

If you are a milspouse (military spouse) you know that as with everything else in the military, both marriage and divorce are far more complicated than they are for civilians. While military regulations and federal law may govern much about your marriage and divorce, how does Massachusetts state law impact the proceedings if you are a military spouse and wish to obtain a divorce?

One of the biggest factors to consider is whether or not an active duty serving member of the military can be served with divorce papers in a reasonable amount of time. Mass.gov details this difficulty, and points out that service members are exempt from defaulting. Imagine how difficult it would be to serve your spouse with divorce papers if they are deployed overseas, and yet laws still holding them accountable for any kind of default or non-response. If your divorce is uncontested, however, rather than being served your spouse can file a waiver.

Otherwise, mostly state-specific statutes apply to your divorce. The exception to this is the division of property, because of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This governs how a service member's retirement pension is affected by divorce, and overrides any Massachusetts law. There are also laws stating that child support and spousal support payments cannot be more than 60% of the military service member's pay, in the event that you are granted such awards.

This has been an informational blog post, and should not be considered a substitute for qualified legal counsel.

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