Making the decision to file for divorce can be a difficult one and is not one that people take lightly. If you feel that your marriage cannot be saved, you may be considering a divorce. However, if you are in the military, or your spouse is, divorce may be slightly different for you than for other people. Getting answers to the questions you have will help you to better understand the next steps you will face in making a decision and filing, if that is what you decide to do.
How Do You Go About Making a Decision on Divorcing?
If you are contemplating divorce, it is always wise to sit down with a professional and discuss what is going on in your head. As a military member or military spouse, you may have many resources available to you. You may be able to speak with a military chaplain or a military mental health professional. Talking to a counselor, therapist or other professional will give you a safe place to discuss how you are feeling, why you may be feeling that way, and what, if anything, can be done to change those feelings. Depending on your reasoning, a professional may suggest individual or couples counseling to help you attempt to work through your issues. Talking to a professional without being judged or criticized may help you make a decision on divorce.
When Should a Divorce Lawyer Be Consulted With?
If you or your spouse is a member of the military, you will want to work with a lawyer who has experience handling military divorce. This is because these divorces present unique challenges that are not present in other divorces. Deciding where to file can be more complex for military families. Military families may own a home in one state and live in another. Or they may move frequently, making it hard for them to meet residency requirements. Other federal laws, such as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act, which can affect court dates in a divorce if your spouse is away on active duty, and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, which can affect what an ex spouse may be entitled to, come into play with military divorces.
If you are seriously considering filing for divorce, or have already decided to do so, you will want to have a consultation with a military divorce lawyer. The divorce lawyer can help you get your affairs in order so you are prepared for what to expect next. An attorney can let you know what you may be entitled to, such as continued medical benefits or alimony, which can help you budget for the next phase in your life. An attorney can also help you decide where to file, file the papers on your behalf and have them properly served.
What Should You Do to Prepare for Divorce?
If you are contemplating divorce, it is always wise to begin to get your affairs in order. This can help you if you do decide to proceed with the divorce, or your spouse is feeling the same way and files before you do. There are a few things you can do to prepare for a possible divorce filing beyond talking to a therapist and attorney. Some of those things include the following:
- Gathering up financial documents and making copies so you know and can prove what assets and debts you both have
- Making copies of shared documents, such as tax information
- Setting aside some cash to help you pay for legal and living expenses
- Taking possession of your personal documents, such as your passport and birth certificate, so they don't get lost or go missing during a divorce
Deciding whether to stick it out in a marriage or walk away can be one of the toughest decisions you will ever have to make. The decisions you make during this time will have an impact on you for the rest of your life. Getting answers to the questions you have about possibly filing for divorce when you or your spouse are in the military will help you to make a decision and prepare for what may be coming next.