Military Divorce Laws in Arizona
Military divorce can be a complex legal process, especially when it comes to dealing with issues related to family law. This is particularly true when one of the spouses is a member of the US Armed Forces. In Arizona, there are both state and federal laws that come into play during a military divorce, which can have a significant impact on how the divorce proceedings begin and unfold, as well as the final outcomes. It’s important to understand these additional rules and regulations in order to navigate the divorce process successfully.
Where To File Divorce (State Jurisdiction)?
It is not uncommon for military couples to live in different states, which can make the process of filing for divorce more complex. The state where the divorce is filed is crucial because that state will have jurisdiction over the case, and its laws will apply to the filing and any issues that arise, such as child custody, child support, and property division.
Arizona is a “community property” state, meaning that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are owned equally by both spouses, and are divided 50-50 upon divorce, unless specific circumstances dictate otherwise. Not all states follow this approach, so it’s important to carefully consider the rules of different states before deciding where to file for divorce.
In addition to considering the laws of different states, you must also meet their residency requirements before filing for divorce. In Arizona, one of the spouses must have “domiciled” in the state for at least 90 days, which means taking legitimate actions to indicate that their primary residence is in Arizona, such as registering to vote in the state or obtaining an Arizona driver’s license.
If you or your spouse is stationed in Arizona but do not live there, the servicemember’s presence in the state for 90 days can satisfy the jurisdiction requirement, and you may choose to file for divorce in that state. It’s important to understand the residency requirements and jurisdictional rules before beginning the divorce process to ensure that everything is done correctly.
Responsibilities Of The Petitioner
Before a military divorce can proceed, the other spouse must properly complete the divorce notice and summons. As the divorce petitioner, you may face unique challenges in serving an active-duty military spouse who may be deployed in a warzone or stationed in a foreign country, for example.
In Arizona, you have 120 days from the filing date to successfully complete your divorce papers. If this time period lapses, your petition will be dismissed, and you will have to start the process all over again.
If you have properly completed the papers, but your spouse fails to respond, you, as the petitioner, will need to prove to the court whether or not your spouse is on active military service. This is necessary because the court provides more time for servicemembers who are on active duty.
If your spouse, who is an active-duty servicemember, has just been served divorce papers, they are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which provides specific protections from unfair divorce procedures while on active duty.
To make the divorce process easier, it’s essential to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in military divorce cases. Our team is here to help you navigate this complex legal process. Contact our firm today for a free case review.