When a couple divorces while one or both partners serve in the military, it can create complications that civilian divorces never consider. If you or your spouse are active service members when divorce comes knocking, it is important to understand how the military may, or more importantly may not, affect the process or the outcome.
For some, the military lifestyle is too challenging and leads directly to divorce. This is shown in the divorce rate, which has been on the rise. In 2001, it was at 2.6 percent. By 2011, a decade later and after the military was sent to Afghanistan, it had gone up to 3.7 percent.
Military divorces are different to a normal divorce, because the retirement pay distribution to the former spouse is subject to federal law.
Ending a marriage must be one the most gut-wrenching events anyone can go through. Now, take that pain and hardship and imagine how it multiplies for military couples. While military divorces are not automatically more difficult than civilian divorces, certain things can and do complicate divorce issues in ways civilians cannot understand.
The Supreme Court ruling in Howell vs. Howell last month could affect the way disabled military retirees split their pensions with ex-spouses. The ruling may allow disabled retirees to pay less to their exes.
Getting married can benefit couples when one person is in the military. Spousal benefits can be quite attractive, and when one spouse is stationed overseas, the military may pay for the other spouse to join. However, divorce rates have increased for female military service members in recent years.
If you're married to a military servicemember and planning to get a divorce, you're probably wondering what will happen to your valuable military identification cards and the benefits that come with it. In the majority of situations, you will lose your ID card, but only after the completion of your divorce. There are also some exceptions.
All military service members who have been active for 20 years or more can receive a military pension when they retire. That pension will compensate them for life. Since Congress passed Uniformed Service Members Protection Act in 1982, family law courts will treat military pensions as marital property in a divorce. As such, they can be divided between the military spouse and the non-military spouse according to asset division laws.
The military lifestyle is one with a lot of movement and relocation. Service members may be transferred between bases, they may be deployed, and they may spend a significant amount of time moving around for training.
You finally got the call you'd been expecting: The service member you married, who is still deployed, wants to end the marriage. The separation is just too much of a strain on the relationship. He or she wants to end things, telling you to consider the marriage over even though the deployment isn't. What next steps should you take?