Going through a divorce is a challenging process for people of all backgrounds. When one or both parties are in the military, though, the complexities can multiply.
It is important to approach a military divorce with careful consideration. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse should take into account the unique aspects that come with serving in the armed forces.
Understanding military regulations
Military divorces involve adherence to specific regulations that may differ from civilian divorces. Being familiar with these regulations is hardly optional. For instance, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act addresses issues such as the division of military pensions, which is a necessary matter to consider during divorce proceedings.
Military service often involves deployments, which can complicate divorce proceedings. Be sure to plan for potential challenges related to custody, visitation and communication during deployment periods. Establishing clear guidelines and agreements beforehand can help mitigate these challenges.
Residency and filing location
Determining the appropriate location to file for divorce is crucial. Military members may have different residency requirements than civilians. The choice of jurisdiction can significantly impact the outcome of the divorce. Understanding the residency rules and choosing the right filing location is a key consideration.
Child custody and support
Navigating child custody and support matters in a military divorce requires careful attention. Frequent relocations, deployments and the unique demands of military service can influence custody arrangements. The top priority should always be to preserve the best interests of the child.
Division of assets and benefits
Military divorces involve the division of assets and benefits, including pensions, healthcare and other entitlements. Understanding how you will divide these benefits will make things easier for both parties. Factors such as the length of the marriage and the overlap with military service can impact the distribution of these assets.
Statistics place the divorce rate for military couples at an estimated 3%. With this rate being higher than that of many other professions, it is important for military families to consider the possible difficulties of a military divorce even if a separation is not on the table.