Regardless if a family is or is not involved in the military, divorce can be an emotionally difficult time of change. Whether it involves a couple or two married couples and their kids, military families have to deal with the same issues as regular non-military families. Issues such as child custody and property division are familiar to non-military and military members alike. There are some federal laws that govern certain aspects of divorce for current and past military members and their families.
As mentioned earlier, military families deal with the same issues as non-military families. However, there is a twist attached to their military connection. Federal laws govern certain aspects like jurisdiction, military pension and benefits and residency. These federal laws affect Tennessee military members as well as military members around the United States. Since divorce is usually a state issue, the military federal laws throw in a bit of a curveball.
Some of the ways these curveballs may affect military members and their families are as follows. Usually non-military divorce members have to file in their state of residency. For military members, sometimes they are able to file in their state of legal residency or even where they are stationed. A military pension can be available to military personnel and their families after a divorce if the couple was married for a certain period of time or if their military time counted towards credible service towards retirement pay.
Since these laws are federally mandated instead of mandated on the Tennessee state level, there are differences between military and civilian divorce. It is important to understand how military divorce is handled differently. Mishandling of federal military divorce laws could mean family members missing out on key military benefits. Understanding how federal laws may govern your divorce is key to avoiding these mistakes.
Source: family.findlaw.com, “Military Divorce,” Accessed Oct. 18, 2015