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Filing a military divorce

Divorce is a life-changing event with emotional, financial and legal repercussions. Military personnel often serve in demanding roles throughout the world. A divorce is a huge stressor. It can make a difficult situation even more challenging and emotionally draining.

If your marriage is past the point of no return, you must dissolve it. But you may be unsure of how to proceed. Fortunately for military service members, the military has legal assistance offices that offer guidance and advice for initiating a divorce. In addition, the American Bar Association offers resources for finding a military legal assistance office in Pennsylvania and other states.

Where to file for divorce?

A military divorce follows the same process as a civilian divorce in Pennsylvania. Service members and spouses should file for divorce in their current state of residence. You should avoid filing for divorce while on deployment. When you file overseas, the proceeding is under a foreign government’s legal system. U.S. civilian courts may not recognize the divorce decree as legal.

Special military assistance

The military offers guidance and support as you navigate the divorce process. Your military base or station can refer you to the closest military legal assistance office. This office provides resources and guidance for divorce, income tax, child custody and other issues.

Hiring a civilian attorney

Your military lawyer can provide advice and some assistance. However, they cannot serve as your primary counsel, but can refer you to a civilian attorney. In addition, if your spouse is a service member, they are afforded the same legal services and benefits.

Military personnel unselfishly serve to protect our freedom. They spend long periods on deployment and make many personal sacrifices. When facing a divorce, the military provides valuable legal assistance. This allows service members to initiate and conclude a divorce, so they can write the next chapter in life.

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