Military Divorce: Three Myths

Law Blog

There are several myths surrounding divorce when one or both spouses are serving in the military. If you are dealing with a military divorce, you have likely read incorrect information online, or been given incorrect information by well-meaning individuals who want to help you get through your divorce as quickly and as easily as possible. The following three myths surrounding military divorce are not only blatantly false but can cause irreparable damage to you both emotionally and financially if you operate as if they are fact. By arming yourself with the correct information, you can get a handle on your divorce right away and move on with your life.

Myth Number One: The military will provide an attorney to me at no charge to handle my divorce.

The entire purpose of the Legal Office on a military installation is to provide support to the Command, not the individual military members. The primary mission of the military attorneys, paralegals and support staff in the Legal Office is to support the Command in legal issues, to include prosecution of wayward military members and providing legal opinions to commanders on a wide variety of issues. The Legal Office will provide assistance to military members with notarizing documents, as well as drafting some legal documents like wills and powers of attorney. These services are only provided if mission requirements allow. However, these documents have a direct correlation to combat readiness and are in the Command's interest to provide to military members free of charge. Anything beyond that (to include divorce and custody issues), must be handled by a civilian attorney off the installation at the military member's own cost.

Myth Number Two: I must retain the services of a military attorney at the Base Legal Office immediately before my spouse does, so I can obtain free legal representation.

Again, this is incorrect. The military Legal Office is prohibited by law, regulation and mission demands from representing military members in divorce proceedings. On a rare occasion, when time permits, a military attorney may look over documents and offer a referral to a civilian attorney to the military member. Military installation Legal Office attorneys are not allowed to represent either military members or their dependents in divorce proceedings.

Myth Number Three: A military judge will hear my divorce petition and sign my divorce decree.

This goes hand-in-hand with the prohibition on military attorneys representing members and dependents in divorce proceedings. Military judges hear cases that affect the Command, including but not limited to the prosecution of military members, as well as contracting issues and other Command legal issues that must go to trial or be heard by a judge. Military judges cannot and do not hear military divorce cases.

If you are a military member or dependent and you find yourself facing a divorce, do not waste time chasing down legal representation at the Base or Post Legal Office. This service is not authorized. You must seek the counsel of a qualified civilian divorce attorney so you can protect your assets and interests and obtain a divorce with as little delay and strife as possible. Contact a lawyer, such as Karen Robins Carnegie PLC, for more information. 


9 April 2016

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Were you injured at work and fighting to get the workers compensation that you have paid into each year? Sometimes, getting those payments can be very difficult. What do you do when an employer fights the claim? Do you need a lawyer to help you through the process? How will you pay for a lawyer if you cannot even pay your electric bill? You are probably as lost as I was when I went through the process. Fortunately, you can learn from my experience with the system and find the answers to many of the questions that you have about filing a workers comp claim and fighting the system when it is denied.