Filing For Military Divorce

It is a fact of life that military families make many sacrifices for our country. Sometimes the pressure of that life can be too much and couples and parents will split apart. Divorces involving active service members have specific accommodations and requirements because of issues surrounding long-term deployment, transfers, residency of the family and other unique factors like custody and visitation. A former U.S. Air Force's active-duty Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps in Hawaii, attorney Christopher Thomas served here in Hawaii just as the many military personnel here currently do.

Founding Christopher D. Thomas Attorney at Law in 2009, Mr. Thomas regularly represents military personnel in a variety of capacities, including handling divorce proceedings. He is a lawyer who understands the mindset and challenges of the military life, and he can provide helpful guidance as servicemen and servicewomen go through this difficult process that includes state and federal law. We are here to help families meet these challenges head-on and succeed so that parents can move to the next phase of their lives while still being actively involved in raising their family.

Important Issues In Military Divorce

In order for a Hawaii court to have jurisdiction over the divorce, the active duty member must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action. If the case is uncontested, he or she does not have to be served but does have to sign and file a waiver that acknowledges the divorce action. There are other issues to consider as well:

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): This entitles military personnel to an extra 60 days to address or respond to divorce proceedings or custody disputes if they are on active duty, recently on active duty, or their duty prevents them for some reason from responding.
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA): This determines how military personnel's retirement benefits are allocated upon divorce. The courts may authorize payment regardless of length of marriage.
  • Voluntary or involuntary allotment: Alimony or child support may be garnished wages, a court order or even a life insurance policy. Those who are voluntary can change the arrangement if they choose.
  • Spousal maintenance: As with Hawaii, it cannot exceed 60 percent of pay and allowances.

Contact Us For Help With Your Military Divorce

Call our Honolulu office at 808-379-3541, or contact us online. Initial consultations are free and confidential.