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Unique features of an Arkansas military divorce

It's probably an understatement to say life can be complex for military spouses. Personnel at Little Rock Air Force Base have the same marital problems as civilians, although dealing with them can be a lot harder, particularly when a marriage doesn't work out. The legal issues are the same - divorce, child custody, support and property division - but solutions to disputes often aren't easy ones.

Military families cope constantly with changes of plans. Reassignments and deployments can mean regular, full-household relocations or spousal separations that may last for years. Serving your country frequently means dealing with legal concerns from a distance.

Military divorces occur through civilian courts, but spouses can run into problems with jurisdiction. A state of residence can differ from a state where a spouse is assigned. Jurisdictional concerns also affect a military parent in child custody proceedings, particularly for soon-to-be deployed service members.

Arkansas marital property is divided according to equitable distribution laws. Military pensions are divisible assets, under state laws that reflect the provisions of the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. State and federal rules overlap over the pension amount a former spouse receives and the way payments are made.

Spousal support may be less common in civilian divorces now than in the military. A civilian spouse married to a military service member may not be qualified to work following divorce. The non-military spouse often gives up a career to move with a military spouse and becomes the at-home anchor for the couple's children while the military spouse is deployed.

The complications of divorce and custody can become even more intense when both spouses are members of the military service. Then, you're frequently dealing with very costly, long distance visitations.

Fortunately, military family law attorneys are familiar with added stresses and military rules attached to divorces. Perhaps more than anyone else, a military servicemember understands complicated doesn't mean impossible.

Source: Kansas First News, "Deployments cause unique challenges for military divorce" Amy Himmelberg, The Associated Press, Aug. 30, 2014

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