My Parents Arnold and Martha wedding photo August 14 1943 Independence Jackson MissouriWhat about military spouses? - Military personnel have special protections when deployed.  There is a federal statute known as the "Soldier's and Sailor's Relief Act."  It is a complex law on which there are many web descriptions.  What's crucial for both military personnel and their spouses is that a deployed member of the armed forces may delay or consent to a divorce proceeding.  If you are involved in such a case, it is best to address the question with your attorney.

Jurisdiction over military personnel - A slightly different issue arises involving military personnel stationed in any particular state.  Generally members of the armed forces are not considered "domiciled" at a station.  It is considered a temporary assignment and their official residence is a matter of record.  Therefore, personally serving military personnel locally stationed may not in-fact give a state court jurisdiction over that person.  "Jurisdiction" means power or authority over the individual as well as questions and issues relating to them.  Again this is a complex issue better addressed on an individual basis.

What about military retirement benefits and pensions? - In 1982, Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) which permits, but does not require, state courts to divide military retirement upon divorce, legal separation or annulment. 10 U.S. Code §1408.

Don't be fooled!  A military pension may be divided by a state court regardless of the length of a marriage.  Many service personnel and lawyers belief that the rule is applicable only marriages that existed during at least ten years of military service.  This is wrong.  The so called "10/10" rule actually only limits the obligation of the Department of Defense to pay a divorced spouse directly.

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