Professional and attentive
family law & divorce attorneys
working hard for you.

Chandler Military Divorce Attorney

Divorce is never an easy process, it’s legally and emotionally complex, but when one or both spouses are active-duty service members in the U.S. military, it adds further challenges for important matters like jurisdiction, child custody, military benefits, and spousal support. Divorcing spouses must adhere to both state and federal laws when navigating a military divorce in Chandler. Consulting a Chandler divorce lawyer can help manage these complexities effectively.

Jurisdiction in an Arizona Military Divorce

“Jurisdiction” is a court’s authority to make decisions in a legal case. In a military divorce, jurisdiction can be complicated. Jurisdiction in Arizona civil courts requires at least one spouse to have lived in Arizona for 90 days before filing for divorce. Divorcing military spouses have three options open to them for filing a divorce petition:

  • They may file in the state where the service member is stationed if the service member meets that state’s residency requirement which may be different than Arizona’s 90-day requirement
  • They may file for divorce in the service member’s home state if the service member maintained legal residency in that state
  • They may file for divorce in the state where a civilian spouse resides if the spouse meets the state’s residency requirement

Choosing the state in which to obtain a divorce has a significant impact due to different state laws for waiting periods, the division of assets and debts, and child custody.

Child Custody and Child Support in Chandler Military Divorces

Child custody is almost always a contentious matter in divorces. In a military divorce, the spouses and court have additional considerations for child custody, including frequent parent relocation and deployment. A custody agreement or court decision must include provisions for an active-duty parent’s deployment. These are addressed in the military Family Care Plan, but the courts in Arizona are not legally bound by that plan when deciding custody. Parenting plans with agreements for virtual visitation or visitation with the deployed parent’s family members may become part of the custody decision.

Child support guidelines under the state’s formula apply to military families as well as non-military. If the divorce is finalized in Arizona, the state’s laws determining child support are based on both parents’ total incomes and the number of child custody days allotted to them in their parenting plan.

Any requests for modification of a custody agreement later may involve the Hague Convention agreement for a parent’s overseas deployment and military protection laws that delay court proceedings for service members during missions.

Military Benefits and Retirement in an Arizona Military Divorce

A military divorce also impacts a spouse’s status in receiving military benefits. After the divorce’s finalization, a civilian spouse must consider the following:

  • An ex-military spouse must leave military housing within 30 days of the divorce.
  • The non-military spouse loses access to Tricare health benefits but may purchase up to 36 months of additional coverage (children keep their coverage until age 21). If the marriage lasted more than 20 years, the military service member served for 20 years, and the two conditions overlapped for 20 years, the non-military spouse retains health insurance and access to other military benefits under the 20/20/20 rule.
  • A portion of the military member’s retirement pay is considered marital property and is subject to division. For marriages that lasted ten or more years, the military pays the spouse their portion directly during retirement while marriages of under ten years require the military member to pay their spouse their allotted portion of retirement benefits.

Spousal Support In Military Divorces in Arizona

Spousal support in military divorces also follows the state’s guidelines. Spousal support—or spousal maintenance (alimony)—isn’t automatically calculated and awarded like child support. Instead, the court looks at the unique circumstances of each case. The court may award spousal support to a lower-earning spouse if that spouse has small children at home, left the workforce to care for the home and children, or has a medical condition or advanced age that impacts their ability to become self-sufficient.

Call A Military Divorce Lawyer in Chandler

No one should take on the complex state and federal laws for military divorce alone or with a typical divorce attorney without experience in the multi-faceted military divorce process. Contact Wilson Goodman Law Group, PLLC in Chandler today so we can begin protecting your rights and best interests throughout the military divorce process. Consulting a Chandler family law lawyer can ensure you receive expert guidance tailored to your unique situation. Call (480) 503-9217 today.