Obtaining a Military Divorce in Kentucky
You may have heard the phrase “military divorce” thrown around in a way that suggests that there is a whole separate system for divorce for military service members distinct from the general rules and courts relating to “regular” divorces in Kentucky. Like a lot of dubious information provided by well-meaning friends and family members regarding divorce, this is not quite accurate, but it is the case that there are specific divorce law rules which provide for the unique circumstances of a military family, and there are also specific issues that military service members and their spouses will want to focus on as they enter into the divorce process.
First off, it is important to understand that the military will not provide you with a lawyer as you seek a divorce. You will want to retain a private family law lawyer to guide you through the process and apprise you of your rights and responsibilities. For instance, in order to file for a divorce in Kentucky, the filing party must have resided in Kentucky for at least 180 days prior to the filing. A member of the military stationed in Kentucky for at least 180 days can file for a divorce in Kentucky, even if he or she plans to return to a different state at a later point and is in the state solely for military service. There is no requirement that the other spouse be living in Kentucky or ever have lived in Kentucky for the first spouse to file for divorce in Kentucky. If one spouse files for divorce in Kentucky, but the other spouse is serving overseas in the armed forces, federal law allows for the spouse serving overseas to delay appearing in the divorce action by at least 90 days.
The major aspects of a divorce include the division of assets between the spouses, potential awards of spousal and child support, and determinations of custody and visitation with regard to children. While a Kentucky judge will apply the same general legal framework to these issues regardless of whether a party is in the military, military service members and their families face unique circumstances with regard to these issues. For example, with regard to division of assets and support payments, a court will look at the fact that a military service member is compensated for his or her work not just through a paycheck but through other benefits, such as housing allowances and services that may be offered to service members and their families on a military base. Determining how those additional benefits factor into a division of assets and support payments can be a complicated process highly dependent on the facts of a family’s circumstances. Also, a service member’s pension will generally be considered to be marital property subject to division between the divorcing parties, but this too can be a complicated process of determining what portion of the ongoing pension payments is subject to division. Finally, a service member’s commitments and time away from home may play a factor in a judge’s determination of the proper custody and visitation arrangements for the children of that service member.
For help with a military divorce in Kentucky, contact the law firm of John Ruby and Associates at 502-895-2626.