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What to expect during a military divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce proceedings lead to major changes for a family. People often put off filing for divorce in part because of the uncertainty involved. No one wants to give up a stable, predictable life for months of challenging transitions if they can avoid doing so.

However, when marital circumstances become untenable, divorce is often the best option. If either spouse serves in the military, the process can seem even more intimidating and confusing. Military servicemembers may be at elevated risk of divorce in part because of the demands of their service. They may also hear more misinformation than the average person about the divorce process.

What can people expect during a military divorce?

The civilian courts oversee military divorces

Contrary to what people sometimes expect, the military courts do not hear military divorce cases. Divorcing servicemembers have to use the same family court system as everyone else. The same basic laws apply regarding the division of property, the allocation of parental responsibilities and the obligation to provide financial support. They have the same options regarding how they manage the divorce process, including arranging for an uncontested filing.

Servicemembers have unique issues to address

Those serving in the military and their spouses do have certain unique considerations that can influence their divorce proceedings. For example, a deployment could complicate or delay the divorce process. Parenting plans may need to take the possibility of deployment into consideration.

Benefits can also be a consideration. The servicemember may see an adjustment of certain benefits after their divorce. Typically, ongoing health coverage and other benefits are not available to a non-military spouse after a divorce. There are temporary health insurance options available for spouses no longer eligible for TRICARE coverage.

The family may need to leave installation housing within 30 days of the servicemember leaving due to divorce proceedings. Spouses may need to make arrangements to share a military pension.

Military divorces may require special consideration, especially if the situation involves a gray divorce after a long-term marriage or it involves young children. Learning more about basic divorce procedures can benefit those planning for the future. People who know what to expect may feel more comfortable moving forward if they’re doing so in informed ways.