Those serving face many challenges in protecting our Country, and one of the biggest obstacles faced centers family and loved ones back home. It is well known that anyone serving in the military can be reassigned to a new station at any time with very short notice. This reassignment can be close to home or in some cases very far away. To add the hurdle of divorce in the mix only heightens the struggles military members face while serving. Just because you are not in the home every day, does not mean you have given up any rights to your children and it is important to know and understand what rights you may have when going through a divorce. 
Unfortunately, Military Courts do not grant divorces. North Carolina has a few requirements for anyone serving in the military in order to have jurisdiction to file for divorce and custody. To file for divorce in a North Carolina District Court: 

  • One or both of the spouses must reside in the state for at least 6 months preceding the action;
  • One or both of the spouses must be stationed in the state for at least 6 months; one or both of the spouses must claim legal residency in the state of North Carolina. 

If children are involved, having an order relative to custody and support in place may be the best option for you while active in the military regardless of where you are stationed. The Order will lay out specifics such as where your child will live, decision making power for the child while you are deployed, support, relocation terms, medical coverage and decisions, and a visitation schedule or plan such as electronic communication and facetime with your child. Of course, each Order is different based off your individual situation and no two are the same.
An experienced family law attorney familiar with these cases can dig a little deeper with you in what route you can take. The courts will always consider what is in the best interest of the child as this is the guiding star to all issues involving custody in North Carolina. Judge’s will look at many different factors in determining what arrangement a family should have. 
Although North Carolina laws govern property division in military divorce, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act controls the division of military retirement benefits during divorce. Whether or not your case is contested determines the path you will need to take to complete your divorce and obtain an Order for custody and/or support from the Court. Contact Hatcher Law Group to discuss your options and rights if you or your spouse is a member of the military.

If you or someone you know is in need of legal counseling, contact one of Hatcher Law Group’s experienced family law attorneys today.