Deciding to end your marriage is a difficult decision in Rock Hill, South Carolina. However, you need sound, honest legal advice when you have made that choice.
Even if you and your spouse agree to an amicable divorce, things can become emotional and messy quickly. Having an attorney on your side from the beginning who advocates for you helps ensure you receive a fair divorce settlement.
Our top-rated South Carolina divorce attorney has over eight years of experience helping families in the area. At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, we provide the highest level of customer care and professionalism when assisting our clients with their family law matters. We understand that going through a divorce is an emotional process, so we work diligently to make the divorce process less stressful whenever possible.
Military divorces add another layer of complexity to the divorce process in South Carolina. An experienced Rock Hill military divorce lawyer at Minor Law Divorce Lawyers can provide the support and advice you need to find a workable solution to complicated issues in a military divorce.
How Minor Law Divorce Lawyers Can Help You With a Military Divorce in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Military divorces share many similarities with other types of divorces, but there are some key differences as well to keep in mind.
Some statutes deal with various issues specific to military couples. Issues that are unique to a military divorce include the manner for dividing retirement income, rules about when an active military service member can be served during deployment, child custody and visitation considerations for military parents, and military health insurance for ex-spouses.
Because a military divorce involves federal statutes, you need an attorney with in-depth knowledge of the procedures that must be followed and the difficult issues that might arise. You need an experienced Rock Hill divorce lawyer to provide legal counsel.
When you hire Minor Law Divorce Lawyers to handle your military divorce, our legal team of skilled professionals will:
- Listen to your needs and expectations to identify goals for your divorce
- Identify complex issues related to a military divorce to develop a workable solution
- Help you understand your legal rights and the options for your divorce settlement
- Investigate and gather evidence to support your case
- Negotiate with your ex-spouse and their attorney to obtain fair divorce terms
- Prepare for trial and aggressively advocate for you in front of a judge if settlement is not possible
At Minor Law Divorce Lawyers, we are family-focused and results-driven. Attorney Donae A. Minor works with you to identify your goals and develop a strategy to solve problems and obtain the outcome you desire. We will advocate for your best interests and the best interests of your children throughout the divorce process.
Contact our family law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced military divorce lawyer in Rock Hill, SC.
Am I Eligible To File for a Military Divorce in South Carolina?
At least one of the spouses in a military marriage must be a legal resident of South Carolina or be stationed in the state to file for a military divorce in South Carolina. Generally, at least one spouse must be a South Carolina resident for at least one year to file for divorce in this state.
However, the law waives the residency requirement for military divorces if both spouses live in South Carolina. The residency requirement is three months instead of a year.
How Do I Serve My Military Spouse With Divorce Papers in South Carolina?
When you file for divorce, you must serve your spouse with the divorce papers. Your spouse has a specific deadline for filing a response. If they do not file the response, you can request the court issue a default divorce judgment.
However, military service members on active duty must focus their attention on their duties. Furthermore, they might not be in a place or situation where they can receive and respond to legal papers.
Therefore, the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows courts to pause military divorce proceedings while a spouse is on active duty. The pause continues for 60 days after the spouse returns from active duty. The pause allows a military spouse to complete the duty and have sufficient time to retain counsel to respond to the divorce papers.
However, a military service member may waive their rights under SCRA if the divorce is uncontested. In that case, the court could proceed with the divorce and issue a final divorce decree even though the service member is still on active duty.
Special Considerations for Dividing Retirement and Pensions in a Military Divorce
Dividing retirement accounts is generally a complicated issue in most divorces. In a military divorce, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Act (USFSPA) gives states the authority to distribute military pensions to former spouses.
However, the USFSPA does not automatically award the ex-spouse a portion of the military pension. The court would determine whether dividing the military pension is equitable given the facts of the case. If so, the court decides how much of the pension to award to the former spouse, but it cannot be more than 50% of the member’s disposable retired pay.
If the parties were married for at least ten years that overlap with at least ten years of military service, the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) can make direct payments to the former spouse. Otherwise, the military spouse pays their former spouse directly.
In some cases, a former military spouse can receive other benefits, such as medical benefits and commissary, if the marriage lasted for at least 20 years concurrent with 20 years of creditable service.
Child Custody and Child Support in a Military Divorce
State law applies when awarding alimony and child support in military divorces. South Carolina has standard child support guidelines that use the parents’ income as a basis for child support obligations. However, determining a service member’s income can be challenging because they could receive several forms of income and compensation.
Child custody is decided by the courts based on the child’s best interests. However, military members may receive special consideration when they are on active duty or deployed. The court must balance the child’s best interest with the unique circumstances that arise when a parent is an active-duty member of our armed forces.
The South Carolina Military Parent Equal Protection Act enacted in 2009 addresses issues that arise for active duty military and reservists. The law is written to prevent military-related duties from negatively impacting the relationship between a child and parent. Under the Act, deployment is not the sole factor in determining permanent custody.
Can I Receive Alimony in a Rock Hill Military Divorce?
Generally, the USFSPA directs the military to comply with state laws regarding alimony. South Carolina judges consider numerous factors when deciding whether to grant alimony. They consider a spouse’s need for support and balance that with the other spouse’s ability to pay alimony payments.
Property Division in a Rock Hill, South Carolina Military Divorce
South Carolina is an equitable distribution state. Spouses can agree on how to divide their marital property. However, when spouses disagree, the court divides the marital property for them.
Unless there is a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, the judge decides what would be an equitable division of assets. Equitable means fair. Therefore, the marital assets might not be divided equally if the judge decides an unequal division is fair.
Separate property belongs to one spouse. Equitable division does not apply to separate property. Instead, each spouse retains their separate property.
What Are the Grounds for a Military Divorce in Rock Hill, SC?
The grounds for divorce for a military couple are the same as for all other couples in South Carolina. If you file for military divorce in South Carolina, you must claim one of the following grounds for divorce:
- Abandonment (required military duty does not qualify as abandonment)
- Physical cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness
- One year continuous separation (no-fault)
If you choose a fault ground, you have to prove that your spouse is guilty of the conduct to obtain a divorce. If you do not have fault grounds, you would need to live separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year to file for a no-fault divorce in South Carolina.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Rock Hill Military Divorce Lawyer
Military divorces involve complicated issues. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced Rock Hill military divorce lawyer.
An attorney with experience handling military divorces understands the unique issues and the federal laws applicable to a military divorce in South Carolina. This knowledge is essential to protect your rights and best interests.
If you or your spouse is in the military and you are seeking a divorce, our experienced Rock Hill military divorce attorney can help. We provide compassionate, assertive, and trusted legal counsel. Call Minor Law Divorce Lawyers today to get started.