Special Family Law Issues for Veterans

Our servicemen and women sacrifice more than we can imagine to defend our nation, including adopting a mobile lifestyle that includes frequent relocation and long absences from home. This situation can create a number of special issues when an active duty member of the military becomes involved in a divorce or other domestic dispute. Fortunately, there are laws specifically designed to protect service members in domestic proceedings-and attorneys experienced with the specific issues that service members face. 

Following are some examples of how Illinois domestic relations law as well as certain federal statutes can affect divorce and domestic proceedings involving members of the military: 

  • State law specifically gives Illinois courts jurisdiction over a divorce involving a service member if that service member has been stationed in the state for at least 90 days. 
  • The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act protects service members from having default civil judgments entered against them while deployed. This includes judgments for child support. 
  • Illinois courts are directed to consider the terms of a parent’s military family care plan when allocating child custody. 
  • The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) specifically governs how military retirement benefits are divided and allocated upon divorce. This law may direct a different result than would be reached under state property division law for those not in the military. 

All divorces and domestic separations are potentially complicated. However, military divorces often raise issues beyond what is present in a typical divorce. Having the advice of an experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help service members and their spouses avoid the types of mistakes that can prejudice their rights and unnecessarily prolong the process.

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