When a person or their spouse is in the military, there are special consideration for a divorce case in Iowa.
One common issue centers around a person’s residence (domicile) for the sake of a divorce. Generally speaking, a person can only file for divorce in Iowa when they have been a resident for 1 year. However, a person who is in the military and is outside of Iowa due to military orders will (generally) still be considered a resident of Iowa. For example, if a soldier or sailor lives in Iowa, and is then given orders that take them to Germany, that solider or sailor can still file for divorce in Iowa. More information the effect of military orders on domicile and residence insofar as divorce cases are concerned can be seen here.
It is also important to keep in mind the effect of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides certain rights to military service members in a variety of different types of court cases, including a divorce case. More information on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can be seen here.
In cases where one or both parents are in the military, there are sometimes special considerations as to custody and parenting time. It is also important to ensure that the court Orders that are entered take into account the manner in which a person’s schedule may change due to new orders, and the distances that may need to be traveled for visitation and custody exchanges. Getting all of that done right can save a person a lot of potential grief later.
Military benefits, to include retirement, are subject to certain rules set by the Department of Defense. In some ways, these rules are different than the standard Iowa rules for such matters. Since Federal law controls over state law, it is important to keep those rules in mind when handing a divorce case for a person in the military. There are also certain rules provided by the military that can affect temporary child and spousal support.
A very positive thing about the Iowa legal system for those who are in the military is that Iowa’s electronic filing system makes it easier than ever for a person who is stationed overseas to work with their attorney to efficiently handle their divorce case, often without the need to come to Iowa at all. By making use of email to exchange documents with a client, who can then print, sign, scan, and return the documents to us, it is possible to avoid the delays associated with having to mail papers.
Iowa’s laws and Iowa’s court system are well adapted at handling divorce cases where one or both spouses is in the military. At Puryear Law, we enjoy helping service members handle divorce cases in the most efficient and effective manner possible.