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The basics of the military divorce process

The divorce process can be a challenging time for any couple but a military divorce can include some unique challenges civilian couples may not face when divorcing. Special rules and requirements, and both state and federal laws, impact military divorces which is why it is helpful for divorcing military couples to understand the military divorce process.

Differences between the military divorce process and civilian divorce process can include residency and filing requirements, service of process and the division of military pensions. Both federal and state laws impact a military divorce so it is important to understand both. Federal laws can have an impact on where divorcing military couples divorce and how military pensions are divided, while state laws can impact concerns such as alimony.

Federal law also impacts when divorce proceedings can be filed. Subject to the discretion of the court, divorce proceedings cannot be brought against spouses on active duty or for 60 days following active duty to allow the active-duty spouse to focus on their service. When determining where the military divorce can be filed, there are generally three options including the state the filing spouse resides in; the state that the military spouse is stationed in; or the state that the military spouse claims legal residency in.

Regardless of who is going through the divorce, the family law process can help divorcing couples, including military couples, resolve their important divorce-related concerns including property division, child custody, child support and alimony. Because there can be challenging issues associated with a military divorce, such as the division of a military pension, it is useful for military couples considering divorce to be familiar with the process and how the family law court can help.

Source:, "Military Divorce," Accessed March 8, 2018

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