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Specific divorce laws apply to individuals who serve in the United States military. While the state typically settles family law matters such as divorce, federal law plays a role in military divorce.

These are the key considerations for military service members who are considering divorce in Georgia.

Jurisdiction and residency

In general, spouses must file for divorce in the county where one or both resides. Military service members, however, may want to file in their state or county of legal residence. This is often different from the place where they are stationed. Georgia allows service members stationed there to file divorce there even if they legally reside in a different state.

Military pensions and benefits

Georgia courts distinguish between marital property and separate property in divorce proceedings, which means the law may not entitle a former spouse of a service member to share his or her military pension. However, if the couple were married for at least 10 years that overlapped with at least 10 years of military service, the nonservice member spouse may receive a direct payment from the military pension from the Defense Department.

Spouses receive full medical benefits in a military divorce when they were married for at least 20 years, the service member in question served for at least 20 years and this time at least partially overlapped.

Spousal and child support

When a service member divorces, military law applies to spousal and child support. Military members on active duty can file a stay to receive more time to participate in court proceedings. Judges may not issue final custody orders during a service member’s deployment or within 90 days of his or her return. In Georgia, service members are also protected by the Military Parents Rights Act, which prohibits courts from counting deployed time against parents in custody disputes.