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Military divorce: Where to seek support when complications arise

It is often challenging and difficult to balance family life and military service. U.S. military service members in Washington and beyond are not alone in the sacrifices they make because their spouses and children play key roles toward their successful service as well. Military divorce often occurs when a particular marriage is unable to withstand the strain and pressure deployment and active service place on a personal relationship.

When a military spouse files for divorce or is served with papers to show that his or her spouse has done so, numerous issues may be of concern. Benefits, pension plans, deployment and parental rights can be complex issues that have a significant impact on the futures of all involved. Most military service members execute family care plans, which may be quite relevant to divorce proceedings.

Service members are protected against lawsuits during deployment. This means a service member must have the opportunity to be present in court if, for instance, a spouse is suing him or her for child custody. If a military parent has custody of his or her children, deployment does not negate his or her rights as a custodial parent; however, the family care plan would no doubt be crucial toward making sure children's needs are met while a parent is serving on active duty overseas.

In many ways, military divorce is similar to a civilian marital break-up. It is a fact, however, that military personnel may be faced with unique issues that do not typically arise between civilian spouses in divorce. This is one of many reasons it pays to consult with an experienced family law attorney before heading to court. The Clement Law Center, in Washington, is committed to providing guidance and support to clients facing legal issues related to military service.

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