When you are going through a divorce, there are a multitude of things that need to be taken care of. Often, it is stressful and overwhelming, especially if there are children involved in the separation. As difficult as the legal process is for civilians, for military service members, the legal process of a “military divorce” has more nuance and involves special requirements.
Perhaps the most pointed restriction pertains to when a spouse can file for divorce. If a service member is on active duty, all parties are barred from filing for divorce. This restriction carries over for 60 days after active duty, as well.
Additionally, the state in which a spouse file for divorce may be unclear. A service member and their family may be stationed at a location that is not considered a state of residence for either party. To alleviate this, service members and their spouses may file for divorce in the state they are stationed in, where the spouse resides or where the service member is a legal resident. Laws specifying procedures for things such as property division, child support and child custody issues are different from state to state, so the state in which to file for divorce may become tricky.
While the timing and geography are basic differences, the question of a service member’s pension, benefits and child support as it pertains to the other spouse are more complicated. The additional rules and restrictions in these areas especially results in the need for an attorney with a specialization in military divorce.
All in all, divorce proceedings between civilians is largely the same for marriages with military members. However, if you are in the military and facing divorce, ensure that the lawyer you consult with has the ability, experience and qualifications to represent you.
Source: Findlaw, “Military Divorce,” accessed on Jan. 26, 2017