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How does a military divorce work in Tennessee?

The lives of those in Tennessee serving in the armed forces may seem extraordinary and highly difficult, especially for those serving abroad and in combat. In terms of their personal lives, however, soldiers and veterans tend to go through issues that are common to civilians. Some of these may have nuances corresponding to the peculiarities of the military way of life, which is why, when they deal with civil law, there are some aspects of the law that are modified for serving soldiers.

Take for instance, a military divorce, which resembles an ordinary divorce for the most part, but the variations can be significant. If the spouse of a serviceman or servicewoman on active deployment chooses to file for divorce, he or she may not do it for up to 60 days after the soldier has returned from that tour of duty. The fact that soldiers need to move to wherever they are deployed also impacts the requirement in many lawsuits that the person have stayed in a certain location for a certain length of time.

As residents of Clarkesville, Tennessee, may know, anyone wishing to file for divorce in Tennessee must have lived in the state for at least six months. Further, the process can normally last anywhere from two to three months, and even more if the divorce is contested. When children are affected by the divorce, their custody and support issues are of much concern governed by the state's law, rather than federal laws.

Where military divorces differ most is in the inclusion of military retirement pay when dividing marital assets. Per Tennessee law, such income is considered part of the marital estate, which is the joint property of the two partners during the marriage. Depending on the length of the marriage and the number of years that either of the divorcees was married and serving in the military, a part of the retirement pay is made over to the spouse. This award may sometimes be postponed until the serviceman or servicewoman begins receiving such retirement income.

Source: Knox.Army.mil, "Legal Briefs: Tennessee Divorce Law," accessed on Oct. 4, 2014

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