How Does a Military Divorce Differ From a Civilian Divorce?

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Written By AndrewPerry

Founded in 2015 by a group of passionate legal professionals and enthusiasts, FlowingLaw started as a small blog. Today, it's a thriving community where ideas, expertise, and legal advice flow freely.





Military divorce laws are definitely more complicated than a normal divorce. Think about it. The nature of the military is structured and regimented and to be a member of the military staff or married to one, you can have issues that are very complicated. As a military member, you travel quite a bit and jurisdiction plays a major role. Quite a few areas of law affect the military family that is divorcing more so than a regular civilian divorce. Given the difficult process, both parties involved in the divorce should consult with an attorney that is experienced in dealing with military persons in divorce.

Where to begin…

The filing location. Where will you be filing or where should you be filing for divorce? More than one choice is acceptable. First: the party that is not a member of the military’s county, second: the county of the state where the military personnel is stationed, and Third: where the service member says that they have permanent residence.

If you have a child, then things get a bit sticky. When children are involved in a divorce, there are major differences. Military men and women have intricate pay grades and information within such as their base pay and bonuses quarterly. Additionally, when it comes to a divorce with a retired military person, pensions have to be considered.

Were you aware that a Protection Act (USFSPA) was created for all former spouses of military personnel that states they will be entitled to at least 50% of the service persons pay? If child support is another factor, then the person filing can get up to 65% of the salary! This Act was created back in 1982 in effort to compensate all spouses for dealing with the challenging lifestyle of the military.

In war times today, no one wants to think about divorce when they are constantly thinking of how and when their loved ones are coming home from overseas. There are some instances when it is necessary to take this process. Some spouses find it just too hard to deal with the post-traumatic stress of their military family member. War is tough, much tougher for us to imagine unless they experienced it. Contact a professional if you need an expert in military divorce laws.