Military divorce is a non-legal term describing divorce when one or both spouses are active or retired military. There are not separate divorce requirements when filing for divorce for military families, but some states may make concessions on state residency requirements to divorce for active duty military personnel who wish to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed.
Military couples must go through the same divorce process as civilian couples; however, there are additional issues and rules involved in military divorce. These factors may make military divorces more complex and take longer to finalize. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may make active members of the armed forces delay divorce or have counsel appointed by the court under certain circumstances so they may continue to defend the country.
Federal law considers military retirement pay marital property. Military retirement pay may be divided during divorce like civilian pensions and retirement accounts, but there are different rules for military pension division. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) gives states discretion on how to divide military pensions during divorce and governs medical care provisions and commissary and exchange privileges.
State laws may handle military retirement accounts in different ways. Depending on the state, if the marriage has lasted for at least 10 years and the military spouse has the required amount of creditable service, former spouses may be entitled to receive retirement pay directly from the Defense and Accounting Service office.
Under federal law, divorced spouses are not entitled to a portion of the service member's disability pay.
In military divorce, alimony and child support are subject to regulations governing active and retired military personnel, making calculating income and collecting spousal and child support more complex. Generally, child support may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances.
If a member of the military doesn't follow court orders on child support, divorced spouses may seek assistance in collecting the support from the military spouse's commanding officer. The wages of a military service member may be garnished to ensure the child support payment.
For military marriages that end after 20 years or more, divorced spouses may be eligible to continue to receive medical coverage under the USFSPA.
Discuss your military divorce case with a local divorce attorney to understand which laws may affect your particular situation. You may be entitled to specific benefits if you have been married to someone serving in the military, but the benefits must be requested. Find a divorce lawyer in your area and arrange a consultation. Call 877-349-1310 or fill out a divorce case review form to connect today.