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Six Steps to Guide You through a “Deployment Divorce”

by Norris Law Group on October 10, 2014

Six Steps to Guide You through a “Deployment Divorce”This week, our blog series covered the rights of men and women who divorce spouses in the military under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), the rights of service members who divorce as outlined in the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA), how military pensions are divided between military couples who divorce, and the various methods used to calculate the percentages of a military pension to which each spouse may be entitled. Now that we’ve gone over those points, in this edition we will cover six steps suggested by Military.com that can help military spouses go through a divorce during deployment.

  1. “Consult an attorney.” If you have never spoken to an attorney before, the idea may seem a little intimidating. It needn’t be. Attorneys are people, just like you, and it is in their best interests to do all they can to serve their clients. Most attorneys offer a free consultation during which you can discuss your case and get a sense of whether you feel that you and the attorney are a good “fit.” If you choose to hire the attorney after your initial consultation, the attorney will typically charge by the hour.
  2. “Find a counselor.” Even though you may feel strong as you go into a divorce, military divorce is a little different than a civilian divorce. A counselor can help you with the practical and emotional aspects of a military divorce. This may be especially important if you have children. Military One Source offers free access to counselors, and Family Support Services at your base may also be able to help.
  3. “Gather documents.” Even if your spouse typically “handled the business” for the family, now is the time for you to step up. Gather all important financial and legal documents, including bank accounts, savings plans, retirement plans, stocks and bonds, and titles and deeds to property. Your spouse will need copies of these documents as well, so make copies for yourself and for your attorney.
  4. “Follow the money.” Now that you are divorcing, expect your financial life to change dramatically. Keep in mind that you may be paying all the bills for your household for a while, as well as all the costs associated with a divorce. Go over your budget with a “sharp pencil.” Feel free to consult your attorney about financial matters as well; all your conversations will remain private based on “attorney/client privilege.”
  5. “Begin the separation.” The procedures for legal separation vary from state to state, so you will have to follow the rules of the state in which you are residing at the time. Consult your attorney for more information.
  6. This is the first day of “the rest of your life.” Your life is about to change. If your spouse is on deployment, this may afford you some time to consider what your life is going to be like from now on. While divorce can be a very emotional experience, do your best to use this time wisely and devise a solid “plan of action” for you and your family going forward.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County, UT and throughout Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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