Marriage to a member of the U.S. armed forces comes with its own unique challenges. In addition to the frequent moves and long deployments, you may have times when it is difficult communicating with your spouse because of the circumstances of his or her work. Like any marriage, there are times when you seem strong together and times when you struggle.
When the periods of struggle start to outweigh and overwhelm the good times, you may decide it is no longer worth the effort you must make to keep the marriage going. As difficult as this decision may be, you must now turn your attention to making sure to protect your rights as a military spouse.
Finding legal representation
At some point when your marriage intersected your spouse’s military service, you may have attended a meeting or received materials about the rights of civilian spouses following a military divorce. Divorce is a civil matter and not a military concern, so knowing and understanding those rights is critical now.
You may not find appropriate advice and guidance from a JAG attorney, especially if he or she is not licensed to practice law in Missouri. For more precise advice that is appropriate to your situation, you may want to contact a civilian legal professional who has significant experience in military divorce.
Some rights to protect
While your attorney can guide you in the steps to take, you may benefit from knowing the following facts about your rights during and after your divorce:
- Prior to the finalization of your divorce, your military spouse may not confiscate your ID card without breaking the law.
- You may be able to keep your ID after the divorce under certain circumstances, such as if you have been married 20 years or more.
- You may also be eligible to retain your military medical benefits and commissary privileges if you were married 20 years or longer and 15 of those years occurred during your spouse’s military service.
- You may remain in military family housing until the divorce is final, and your spouse cannot force you to leave before then.
Fighting for child custody is another matter that you may have to deal with. Many civilian spouses face frustrating restrictions in their custody orders when they want to move back to their home town after the divorce. This is one of numerous complex issues with which a skilled attorney can assist you in reaching the most positive resolution possible.