How Is Divorce in Military Families Different?


There are currently more than 1.4 million Americans enlisted in the military. Among these, approximately fifty-six percent are married. If you are one of the fifty-six percent and are thinking about getting a divorce, this article is for you.

Divorce in the military, or otherwise, is never easy. And while there are plenty of similarities between the emotional repercussions of these divorces, there are some differences between the legal processes.

This article outlines what you need to know about getting a divorce when you or your spouse is a part of the military.

Let’s get straight to it!

The Process for Filing a Divorce in Military Families

Do keep in mind that most U.S courts do not recognize an overseas divorce to be valid. When one spouse is an active member of the military there are a few options available to them with regard to state jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings.

This includes:

  • Filing for divorce within the state you’ve resided in for the past six months
  • Filing within the state where you pay your taxes
  • Filing within the non-military spouse’s state of residence
  • Filing within the state you are stationed in

If there are no disputes between you and your spouse, you may file for a no-fault divorce.

The Legal Side of a Military Divorce

Free legal assistance is available to service members as well as their families. This includes mediation services, separate legal attorneys, judge advocates who are available to explain the implications of your divorce, and more.

If you and your spouse have children, it is important to update your family care plan upon divorce. This process of filing for divorce can get especially complicated if the military spouse is on duty. Given the potential for complications, it is generally advisable to consult a qualified military divorce lawyer who specializes in these cases.

Click here to learn more about the process of filing for divorce in Virginia.

Understanding the Effects of Divorce on Military Benefits

As a consequence of divorce, you may lose installation housing within thirty days of the military spouse moving out. However, the military may compensate you for moving costs.

Although you will lose your TRICARE benefits, you are permitted to buy thirty-six months’ worth of coverage through the Department of Defense. Further, military members are required to provide for their children, in the absence of a contrary agreement.

Get the Help You Need Today

Do you or is someone you know getting a military divorce? If so, be sure to get the legal and emotional help you need to get you through this difficult time.

This includes talking to a qualified attorney who specializes in divorce in the military, and a therapist who can help you navigate this transitional period in your life.

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