As a member of the military, you’ve likely lived in different states or countries for various periods of time. You could easily be ordered up and shipped out to training or a hot spot at moment’s notice. This is one of the many reasons military divorces are handled differently from civilian ones.
Unlike civilian couples that only have to adhere to state law when they decide to divorce, military couples are subject to federal ones as well. The latter governs how a pension may be split up and where a couple may be allowed to settle their divorce. It’s important for military members to carefully choose which state to pursue divorce proceedings in as its laws will later be applied to all custody and alimony matters.
Federal law, and more specifically the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), also restricts when a service member on active duty can either initiate divorce proceedings on his or her own or when a spouse can begin the process him or herself. Under SCRA, soldiers and their husbands or wives are prohibited from filing for divorce while the service member is on active duty or during the 60 days after it ends.
A military couple is eligible to file for divorce either in the place where the service member maintains legal residency, where they’re stationed or in the state in which their spouse resides. Most states don’t require service members to have resided in the state for an extended period of time before filing as is required of civilians.
How military pensions will be split upon divorce greatly depends on the individual state’s laws and whether they see it as community or sole property. It also matters how long a couple was married.
If a couple was married at least 10 years, some of which overlapped with military service, then the nonservice member spouse may be eligible to claim a portion of the pension. Any divorcing couple married at least 20 years under the same conditions may also be entitled to exchange, medical and commissary privileges.
The former military spouse may petition a judge to garnish, court order or request an involuntary or voluntary allotment of support in order to ensure that all child support and alimony obligations are met.
If you’re in the armed forces and considering getting divorced, then an Orlando military divorce attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.
Source: FindLaw, “Military divorce,” accessed May 18, 2018