Military work can be demanding and emotionally draining. It can make it hard for active-duty service members to be as active as they want with their families.
Your military service will impact what happens during your divorce. There are a few special considerations that those in the military or married to someone in the military need to know before filing or when they learn their spouse wants to file.
Spouses can’t file during a service members deployment
Divorce is essentially a lawsuit unless spouses file for uncontested proceedings jointly. A judge looks over evidence from the relationship and hears testimony from both spouses to decide how to split their property and what to do with custody of any children the couple has together.
When someone who serves the military has been deployed, they are not in a position to advocate for themselves in court or respond to service notifying them of civil court proceedings. Only when someone returns from their deployment can their spouse initiate divorce proceedings against them. Those who knowingly and repeatedly violate this rule can face legal consequences.
Divorce will affect benefits for spouses and children
Military families receive benefits ranging from housing support to health insurance through Tricare. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, the capabilities of the civilian spouse and the age of the children, there can be big changes in what benefits the family receives. A divorce can also have an impact on the compensation received by a service member.
Non-military spouses may have to relocate
Military families often live together on or right by military bases. Such housing may no longer be accessible for those who have divorced their military spouse. Especially if the civilian spouse does not currently have their own career, which is common due to the instability of the military lifestyle, they may have few choices but to move in with family or friends. Military families will often have to endure separation due to divorce, especially if there will be another deployment after divorce.
Navigating divorce is never easy, but it can be a lot more difficult if you or your spouse currently serve in the military. Professional help will likely be necessary to navigate the complexities of military divorce.
While the same state laws apply to the initial terms of your divorce regardless of your career, it’s important to also have guidance regarding the unique military considerations that may arise during your divorce. With the right support, you can avoid big mistakes during an upcoming military divorce.