Pennsylvania couples who have at least one member in the service and who want to divorce should know that the military has different rules in place for the process. While the military generally considers divorce cases to be civil matters that should be decided by state courts, it does have some protections in place for service members and their spouses.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects military service members who are on active duty. Under this law, a stay is placed on divorce cases that are pending while the service members are on active duty. Service members will also be protected from default judgments against them while they are on active duty.
Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, people who were married to a military member for at least 20 years when they are divorced may receive commissary, medical, exchange and theater privileges. The military service member must also have served in the military for at least 20 years of creditable service, and the spouses must have been married to the service members durinng at least 20 years of that time.
People who will undergo military divorces may benefit by talking to lawyers who are experienced with handling these types of cases. In addition to the protections that are in place for both the service members and the spouses, there may be unique pension and other property division issues that must be handled. Experienced lawyers may be able to explain how military divorces work and what their clients might expect to receive in the division of property.