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Divorce for Members of the Military

Posted by Joshua Wilson | Mar 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Divorce happens to many couples, and military couples are no exception. Despite this, divorce in the military statistics is only 3.8% as compared to the standard 50% of the United States.

The terms in which a relationship ends often plays a factor in how the divorce will go as well. Whether there are shared assets, income that must be split, child custody, or child support, is something that is often decided during a divorce. This is no different for those in the military. 

The main difference with the military divorce is that the benefits that the non-military spouse once held, may change.

Understanding the Military Divorce Process 

The military divorce process is a little different than the civil divorce process. 

Where You Should File for Divorce

Oftentimes those who are in the military have different homes. One might be the place they live with their spouse, but there may be another residence for their deployment. 

This means that if you are looking for how to file for divorce in the military, not that a military divorce must be filed in the region of residence. This means you must have lived in a state for 6 months in order to file in that state. You cannot file for divorce overseas. 

Custody of Children for Active Servers is Possible

Custody of children is typically the worst part of a divorce. Although the partners may be separated, the children are the ones who often get hurt the most. 

The courts typically decide who gets custody of children, but active servers can still obtain custody. Typically this just means there must be a parenting plan in place to decide how custody is set up.

Split of Military Benefits Depends on the Courts 

It is really important to understand that the state in which you file will determine how your military benefits are divided. 

In Missouri, the courts a former spouse of a member of the military is allowed to continue the use of medical benefits for up to one year after the divorce (as long as the following requirements are met):

  • Marriage lasted at least 20 years
  • Servicemember's spouse completed at least 20 years of creditable military service
  • Minimum of 15 years of the marriage was during the military spouse's service

VA Disability Benefits are Exempt from Division

Although partners do have access to military pensions. It does not give them the right to VA disability benefits. This is important because it means that VA disability benefits aren't considered an asset during divorce proceedings. 

How Divorce Affects Your Military Benefits

Although VA benefits are protected, divorce in the military typically affects your military benefits. All partners have a legal right to certain parts of their spouse's income, as well as wealth, and estate.

Rights of Divorced Military Spouse

  • Military legal assistance: Divorce services include mediation, separate legal assistance attorneys, advice on legal issues
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act: Provides protections such as postponement of a civil court or administrative proceeding if the service member is unable to attend because of duty.
  • The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act: Federal law that gives benefits to spouses. Includes healthcare, commissary, and exchange, as well as retirement benefits of those who have been employed by the military.

How a Family Law Attorney can Help

Divorce is a difficult process to go through on your own, especially if you are in the military. If you are going through a military divorce a reliable family law attorney can help. At Joshua Wilson Law Firm, we specialize in divorce cases making this difficult process as smooth as possible. 

Speak with a family law attorney to schedule a free consultation. 

About the Author

Joshua Wilson

Divorce is complex and highly emotional. Everything is going to change, including your most important personal relationships, your finances, your daily routine, and -- of course -- your home life. This can be a stressful time, and the parties involved often are not thinking clearly. You need some...


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