For many service members in the US, the thought of a divorce is daunting. How are the issues of state residency, child custody and property division heard by the court when one or both parties to the marriage are active service members? The purpose of this entry is to shed some light on the divorce process for active members of the US military.

State Residency

When one party to the marriage is an active service member, they may file an action in North Carolina if they meet the State’s residency requirement of six months. If they have not met the residency requirements of North Carolina but their non-military spouse has, they may file their action in North Carolina. Generally, civilians are provided with thirty days to respond to divorce papers but active service members are provided with a total of ninety days. Extensions may be granted by the court in its discretion.

Child Custody and Equitable Distribution in North Carolina

If the parties are unable to reconcile their differences with a separation agreement and an action has been filed in North Carolina courts, any decisions concerning custody and property divisionwill be made according to North Carolina laws. North Carolina law recognizes that a non-military spouse may have rights to their military spouse’s retirement benefits and pension, depending on the duration of the marriage and the length of military service.

Service Members Relief Act

The Service Members Relief Act is a federal law enacted to give service members of the armed forces some financial relief and protections. You can learn more about this topic here.

Consider setting up a consultation with a family law attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We invite your inquiries.

This Blog/Web Site is made available by Gilles Law, PLLC for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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