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Military personnel divorces follow modified rules

Getting a divorce in Alaska when one or both spouses are in the military is subject to different laws and rules than when both parties are civilians. Regulations are in place to protect active military from being subject to a default divorce of which they were not even aware. Proceedings may be postponed for the full duration of active deployment and an additional 60 days beyond that. Conversely, this postponement can be put aside if it is an active military person who is seeking the divorce. Alaska also requires that the combination of spousal and child support cannot exceed 60 percent of a military member's pay.

Alaska division of property guidelines apply to a military divorce, but military retirement benefits are subject to the federal requirements contained in the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act. One of the stipulations is that the spouses must have been married for at least 10 years during active duty for the benefit to be shared.

For a military divorce to be initiated in Alaska, at least one spouse must reside and be stationed in the state. Any active spouse must be served personally with a copy of the divorce action and a summons. If the divorce is uncontested, the spouse on active duty may not be required to be served as long as she or he files an affidavit that acknowledges the action.

Many who are going through a divorce appreciate the value that an attorney with family law experience adds to the process. Theattorney may help to assure that marital property is identified and divided fairly. Legal counsel may also help to ensure that maintenance payments and child support are both adequate and sustainable to help avoid the need for additional court action in the future.

Source: Divorce Support, "Alaska Military Divorce Laws", September 15, 2014

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