This article explains the differences between these concepts and provides a basic overview of military divorce. Separation Sometimes, couples both military and civilian that are going through a rough patch in their marriage choose to separate before pursuing a divorce. They may want time to see how they do living apart or to seek counseling to save their marriage. During a separation, most couples will live apart.
If the couple decides to legally separate or divorce later, they may be able to incorporate their separation agreement into a judgment of legal separation or divorce. Couples that choose legal separation typically do so for religious reasons.
For example, some couples may belong to a religion that prohibits divorce. Others may want to keep health insurance in effect for their spouse, which would normally terminate after a divorce. You can only remarry if you obtain a divorce. However, the process for legal separation is almost identical to a divorce; you must obtain a court judgment regarding all of the issued you would have to decide in a divorce: One key difference between civilian separations and military separations is that in most states, civilian spouses who are separated or legally separated can date someone other than their spouse without violating any laws.
But, if a military spouse dates someone other than their spouse before being legally divorced, they risk being charged with the crime of adultery. As stated above, the only way to end your marriage is through divorce.
How Military and Civilian Divorce and Separation Differ Military divorce and separation issues are fairly complex because they may be governed by a combination of military codes, state divorce laws and Federal statutes.
In contrast, the laws of the state in which the divorce proceeding is filed usually the state where one of the spouses has resided for the requisite period of time will govern how the divorce proceeds and how most of the divorce-related issues are decided, including child custody and visitation, child support, alimony and the division of certain property and debts.
Why You Need a Civilian Lawyer Although many of the laws applied in a military divorce will be the same as those in a civilian divorce, there are still some major differences, so you should hire a civilian lawyer to represent you in your divorce. Every state has its own unique set of divorce laws that govern divorce actions filed therein, so consulting with a JAG attorney will be of little use to a military member going through a divorce.
Therefore, it is essential to hire a civilian divorce attorney who is an expert in local family law matters. More Information There are a few extra complications military personnel or those married to military personnel have to consider when getting divorced. Check out our section devoted to Military Divorce for lots of helpful information.