Military Divorce in Arizona

military divorce in arizonaArizona military divorces come with their unique specifications and legislative challenges. Both state and federal laws apply, which makes these divorces different from the dissolution of civilian marriages in Arizona.

Arizona Military Divorce Proceedings

The filing requirements for a military divorce are similar to the civilian prerequisites for marriage dissolution – either you or your spouse must be Arizona residents. Additionally, military personnel stationed in Arizona could also pursue a divorce under the state laws.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes 25-312, a petition for divorce must be filed by a member of a couple in which at least one of the people has been domiciled in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to the filing. The term “domiciled” refers to a person being a permanent resident of the state. In the case of military personnel, it also refers to people who have been stationed in an Arizona military base.

Whenever a military person has been deployed out of state, their spouse cannot commence divorce proceedings until the deployment ends. Under the Serviceman’s Civil Relief Act, they have to wait until their significant other returns.

The spouse that is on active duty has to be served personally with a summons and the copy of the divorce action. Otherwise, an Arizona court is not going to have jurisdiction over an active military member. The only exception is an uncontested divorce. In such instances, the active duty spouse doesn’t have to be served with papers, as long as they consent to signing a waiver affidavit.

Property Division, Child Support and Other Military Divorce Considerations

The grounds for a military divorce in Arizona remain the same and the proceedings are identical to those in the case of a civilian divorce.

As far as property division goes, the Arizona law will apply but there are also several additions. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act is one of them.

The act refers to the calculation of military retirement benefits and the manner in which these are going to be divided in the event of a divorce. Under the act, a portion of the retirement will be paid to the former spouse.  For such a division to happen, the couple should have been married for at least 10 years and while one of the spouses was on active duty prior to separating.

Child support calculations are based on Arizona laws. These, as well as alimony payments, cannot exceed 60 percent of the pay and allowances of a person on active military duty. The proper amount is calculated on the basis of Arizona child support guidelines.

Additionally, the spouse of service member can submit a request for the enforcement of military support regulations to the commander of their significant other. Service member compliance with the military regulations will be enforced and going forward, support payments could be scheduled. The obligation can be enforced this way, even when there isn’t court-ordered support.

Specific Provisions for Long Term Marriage

There is one final important provision that applies to military divorces under a narrow set of circumstances.

The Uniform Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act features certain benefits in the case of a marriage that has lasted at least 20 years and whenever the service member has served at least 20 years. The family should not have minor children for the provisions to apply.

Whenever these conditions are met, the spouse of a service member could be entitled to healthcare, commissary benefits and exchange services.

These specific provisions differ from Arizona divorce laws, which is why military couples should seek specialized legal assistance. Both a military service person and their spouse should consult an attorney to understand the specifics and undertake the actions in their best interest.  Click here for more information on Step-Parent divorce.

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