Georgia military divorces vary greatly from civilian divorces. Federal laws govern some of the issues in a military divorce, for instance. Furthermore, military members are afforded specific protections if they are served with divorce papers while on active duty.
The best way to protect your rights during a military divorce is to hire an experienced Douglasville military divorce lawyer. At Bardley McKnight Law, our team of lawyers are masterful negotiators and seasoned litigators. They understand the unique issues involved in military divorces and how federal and state laws impact divorces involving members of the military.
How Bardley McKnight Law Can Help if You Are Seeking a Military Divorce in Douglasville, Georgia
Filing for a divorce can be stressful for anyone. However, when you or your spouse is a military member, additional issues must be addressed.
For example, dividing certain assets could fall under federal and state laws. Child custody issues could be far more complex when a parent could be sent anywhere in the world to serve. Therefore, you want to hire a Georgia divorce lawyer with experience handling military divorces.
Our lawyers at Bardley McKnight Law have extensive experience in all matters related to divorce law. We help clients navigate the most complex divorce matters with compassion and personalized attention to every detail. We negotiate fair divorce settlements for our clients and aggressively advocate for their best interests.
When you hire our Douglasville family lawyers, you can trust that we will:
- Explain how a military divorce differs from a civilian divorce
- Discuss your legal options and your rights regarding the issues relevant to your case
- Develop a legal strategy to obtain your desired outcome for custody, property division, and spousal support
- Prepare and file all necessary paperwork for the divorce and to protect your interests
- Fiercely fight to obtain a divorce settlement that is in your and your children’s best interests
- Work to negotiate a settlement through private discussions and divorce mediation
- Proceed with a contested divorce in court if your spouse refuses to agree to fair divorce terms
We treat your divorce case with the respect and dedication you deserve. Our goal is to obtain a divorce settlement that gives you the resources you need as you begin a new phase in your life. Protecting your needs is our highest priority at Bardley McKnight Law.
Contact our family law firm to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced military divorce lawyers in Douglasville, Georgia.
Where Do I File for a Military Divorce if I Live in Georgia?
One of the first decisions you need to make is where to file for divorce. Typically, a couple lives together immediately before filing for divorce. Therefore, they file the action in the Georgia county of their residence.
However, military divorces are different. A military spouse could live in another state or be stationed overseas. The couple could have a residence in one state but live on a military base in another state.
Generally, there are three possible places to file a military divorce action:
- The spouse filing for divorce files the action in the state where they live;
- The divorce is filed in the state where the military member is stationed; or,
- The divorce is filed in the state where the military member holds legal residency.
In Georgia, you can file for divorce if you have been a resident in the state for at least six months. However, if you live on a military base in Georgia, the residency requirement increases to 12 months.
Once you file the divorce papers, you must serve your spouse. Typically, a spouse has up to 30 days to respond to the divorce complaint.
However, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows active duty servicemembers to delay their response for up to 90 days if they need more time due to their military duties. A judge could grant additional time.
Child Custody in a Douglasville Military Divorce Case
Child custody and visitation in Georgia is based on what is in the child’s best interest. However, in custody cases, a parent is prohibited from using military service against the other parent. Georgia law helps protect a military parent’s parental rights.
For instance, state law helps determines how a child will keep in contact with a parent in the military and the continuance of a parenting plan when a military parent returns from deployment. It also provides for the delegation of visitation time to the extended family of a military parent during deployment.
The law prevents judges from entering final child custody orders while a parent is deployed or within 90 days of their return. This provision gives the military parent time to prepare a case in a custody battle.
Each family and military situation is unique. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all solution to child custody in a military divorce is not applicable. Our experienced Douglasville military divorce attorney works with you to develop a parenting plan that is in your children’s best interests and complies with federal and state laws.
Property Division in Georgia Military Divorces
Georgia is an equitable distribution state for asset division in a divorce. That means marital assets are divided between the spouses based on what is fair. “Fair” does not always mean an equal split.
One of the complicated issues in a military divorce is dividing military retirement. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) gives states the jurisdiction to divide military retirement during a divorce.
The law does not automatically give a spouse an interest in the retirement funds. Instead, it allows the state to treat the military funds as marital property.
Therefore, military retirement funds could be subject to equitable distribution laws in Georgia. The USFSPA also impacts the division of military health coverage and survivor benefit plans.
Calculation of Child Support and Spousal Support in a Douglasville Military Divorce
Being in the military does not excuse a parent from their legal obligation to support their child financially. Georgia uses child support guidelines to calculate the amount of child support a parent must pay.
A parent’s income is a primary factor in child support calculations. However, military pay and civilian pay differ. Therefore, Georgia child support laws include provisions for determining a servicemember’s pay that is included in child support calculations.
Typically, a military member’s income for child support calculations includes the following:
- Base pay
- Drill pay
- Basic allowance for subsistence
- Basic allowance for housing
Child support in a military divorce can get complicated. The guidelines are helpful, but various issues can arise that change how child support is calculated. An experienced Douglasville divorce lawyer can guide you through the process to ensure you receive or pay the correct amount of child support after a military divorce.
Spousal support or alimony can also be granted in a military divorce. State law applies when deciding alimony in a military divorce. Therefore, a judge must consider certain factors to determine whether to grant alimony, including the need for financial support and the ability to pay alimony payments.
A judge may grant temporary, permanent, periodic, or lump sum alimony payments in a Georgia military divorce. Judges consider many factors when deciding the amount of spousal support to grant, including each party’s financial resources, the standard of living during the marriage, and contributions to the marriage.
What Are the Grounds for a Military Divorce in Douglasville, GA?
The grounds for a military divorce are the same in Georgia as a civilian divorce.
A spouse can file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. That means the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved. A no-fault divorce does not require a spouse to prove the other spouse caused the breakup.
Georgia also has several fault-based divorce grounds. A military divorce could be granted on the grounds of:
- Pregnant by another man
- Abandonment or desertion (military deployment does not qualify)
- Impotence at the time of the marriage
- Substance abuse
- Abuse or cruelty
- Insanity or other serious psychological conditions
- Forced or tricked into marriage
- Conviction of a crime that results in more than two years in prison
When you file for a military divorce on fault grounds, you have the burden of proving that your spouse is guilty of the “fault” that caused the breakup of the marriage. Proving fault can be difficult and expensive. Therefore, many people choose no-fault divorce because it can be quicker and less expensive to obtain.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Douglasville Military Divorce Lawyers
Regardless of why you are ending your marriage, you deserve a fair divorce settlement. Our Douglasville family law attorneys at Bardley McKnight Law work with you to develop a strategy and settlement proposal that protects you and your children. We fight to protect your rights while using all our resources and skills to complete your divorce in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Call us today to schedule a case review with one of our experienced Douglasville military divorce lawyers.