When it comes to spousal support for military members, it is important to note that military members do have a lot more at stake than just legal issues that result from not providing spousal support, child support, or any other various support that has been court-ordered. They also could have long-term effects on their military career.  In the following paragraphs, we’ll go over the best way to safeguard not only your military career but also providing the best life for your family while serving in the military. 


Military Protection During New Mexico Divorce Proceedings

 

Military divorces are often more complex than civilian divorces and that is due to the additional laws and regulations that are in place for military members to abide by. There are laws specifically designed to protect active duty military members being held in “default, due to failure to respond to a divorce action in the allotted time. These laws were specifically enacted to protect the active military from divorce without knowing it. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and in the discretion of the local New Mexico court, the divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time the active duty member is on duty and to up to sixty days after, which is typically the case for military members who are deployed in an active war zone. Also, the petition to postpone the divorce proceedings can be waived by the military member if he or she wishes to proceed with the divorce. Now, when it comes to serving a spouse whose significant other is active duty military, it is a little different. Military spouses must personally be served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action to have jurisdiction over the active-duty military member. In the case of uncontested divorce, the military spouse may not have to be served for the divorce to proceed, but it is required that they sign and file a waiver affidavit stating that the divorce is acknowledged.

 

Is Military Divorce Different Than Civilian Divorces?

 

In most cases, no. The same paperwork is filed for both military and civilian divorces. You or your spouse must reside in or be stationed in the state of New Mexico, but the grounds and paperwork are the same regardless of being a civilian or active-duty military. Now, dividing the property in a military divorce can get a little muddy but there is a law in place known as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act or the USFSPA. This law governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. This law is enforced, in addition to the standard New Mexico divorce laws.  Now, if the divorce is happening before 10 years while coinciding with the military member being on active duty, the spouse is not entitled to any military retirement benefits. 


Child and Spousal Support in a Military Divorce

 

You, as the spouse of a military member, maybe wondering how both child support and spousal support will be calculated. The biggest thing to understand is that, regardless of the length of your marriage, you may be entitled to spousal support and, if you and your spouse had children together, child support as well. Now, in New Mexico, there is a regulatory process that is followed to determine the amount of child support and spousal support you can receive. Any child support, spousal support, or alimony that is received may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The normal guidelines, worksheets, and schedules are used to determine the exact amount of spousal support, child support, or alimony.

 
Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Child Support Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond