While all Alabama divorces are difficult for those involved, there can be additional challenges for an Alabama military divorce. The assistance of an experienced Birmingham divorce lawyer can make a big difference in how an Alabama military divorce plays out. One of the most basic requirements for an Alabama court to have jurisdiction in an Alabama military divorce is that either the member of the armed services or their spouse must reside or be stationed in Alabama. Additionally, in a typical Alabama divorce there is the potential for one spouse to “default” in the divorce proceedings. This can happen when a spouse does not respond to a divorce complaint within a specified period of time or does not show up for a scheduled hearing related to the divorce proceedings. However, state and federal laws prevent members of the military from defaulting on divorce when they are deployed on active duty, so you should be aware that an Alabama military divorce can be postponed by a judge until a servicemember deployed on active duty returns home. There are some other differences that are important to keep in mind when considering an Alabama military divorce.
Child Support and Alimony
Alabama has child support guidelines that determine how much a spouse owes to another in terms of child support. These guidelines apply to any spouse that may be ordered to pay Alabama child support. However, there are additional legal restrictions in Alabama that may ultimately affect any alimony a court determines a military spouse may owe to their former spouse. In Alabama, combined child support and alimony cannot exceed 60 percent of the servicemember's total gross pay. The goal of alimony, sometimes also referred to as spousal support, is to help a former spouse achieve a standard of living near what they had when they were married. Depending on the servicemember's salary, this restriction may have a significant impact on the former spouse of a servicemember and it is important to properly plan for that possibility.
For divorces not including a military spouse, the distribution of retirement benefits is covered by Alabama divorce law. However, federal law supersedes state law in overlapping areas. One of these areas pertains to the retirement benefits of a former servicemember, which are governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act. This legislation created a federal government agency that will direct how a former servicemember's retirement benefits should be divided after divorce. An important requirement to receive part of these benefits is that the former spouse must have been married to the former servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty.
Legal Assistance with an Alabama Divorce
There are many other considerations in an Alabama military divorce. If you are considering divorce, whether a member of the military is involved or not, it is important to consult with an experienced Birmingham divorce lawyer that has worked with clients on many different types of divorces. All divorces are unique to the individuals involved, but experience with the many different nuances of an Alabama divorce and the legal processes generally involved can help you ensure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation about your Alabama divorce and find out more about what a divorce might involve based on your circumstances.