With more than 100,000 active duty military personnel in the state, North Carolina has the fifth largest military presence of any state in the country. If you or your spouse is a military member and you are considering filing for divorce in North Carolina, you need to be ready for the legal process. At Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, we have the specialized legal skills and expertise to take on military divorce cases. In this article, our Monroe family lawyers highlight the most important things you should understand about military divorce in North Carolina.
Starting Point: Military Divorce in North Carolina Still Falls Under State Law
To begin, it is important to know that military divorces share a lot of commonalities with civilian divorces. Indeed, the legal process is actually more similar than it is different. Military divorces are still governed primarily by state law. What does that mean for you? It means that the same rules and procedures that apply to civilian divorces in North Carolina also apply to your military divorces. Here are some key points to understand about divorce in North Carolina:
- North Carolina is a no-fault divorce state. All divorces in Union County and elsewhere in the state are now finalized on no-fault grounds. Courts do not assign blame.
- North Carolina is an equitable distribution jurisdiction. A couple’s marital property is split in an “equitable” (read: fair) manner. An equal distribution is possible, but not mandatory.
- North Carolina uses the best interests of the child standard for parents getting divorced. What is best for the child will be used to determine issues of custody and visitation.
A Note on Residency: At least one spouse must have lived in North Carolina for a minimum of six months to qualify to file for divorce in the state. A military member being stationed at a base in North Carolina for the past six months is sufficient to meet this standard.
Federal Law May Still Impact a Military Divorce
Although military divorces in North Carolina are governed by state law, there are some federal laws that may still impact your case. Here are two of the most notable examples:
- 1. Case May Be Paused if Military Service Member is Deployed: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is federal law that provides protections to active-duty military members who are facing legal proceedings, including divorce. Under the SCRA, a military member can request a stay (or delay) of the divorce proceedings if their military service materially affects their ability to participate in the case.
- 2. There are Specialized Federal Regulations for the Division of Military Benefits: The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that governs the distribution of military benefits, including retirement benefits. Under the USFSPA, state courts are authorized to divide military retirement pay and other benefits as marital property. However, there are some restrictions and limitations on this authority, so it’s important to work with a lawyer who understands the nuances of this law.
A Divorce Lawyer With Military Divorce Experience Can Help You Navigate the Challenges
Divorce is complicated for any person or family going through it. For military members and their spouses, there are often some additional challenges that need to be considered and addressed. You do not have to figure out the complexities of a military divorce in North Carolina on your own. If you’re going through a military divorce in North Carolina, it is imperative that you consult with a Monroe, NC family lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases.
No matter the specific situation that you are dealing with, your North Carolina military divorce attorney will be able to review the case, answer your legal questions, explain the law, and help you take the next steps to protect your rights, your interests, and your future. The right North Carolina military divorce attorney should provide truly comprehensive family law representation, including issues like property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
Get Help From Our Monroe Family Law Attorney
At Plyler, Long & Corigliano, LLP, our North Carolina military divorce lawyers are diligent, experienced, and future-focused advocates for our clients. If you have any specific questions or concerns about military divorce, we are more than ready to help. Call us now or connect with us online. With a law office in Monroe, we handle military divorce cases throughout the region, including in Union County, Anson County, Mecklenburg County, and Stanly County.