3 special considerations in a military divorce

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

If you and your spouse are in the military, it can put a massive strain on your marriage. The long periods apart, the need to uproot and move or the uncertainty of when you might need to go away is too much for some couples.

If you decide it’s time to divorce, here are some things to remember:

The divorce may take longer if one party is away

Courts recognize that handling a divorce will be even more challenging if one party is overseas, particularly if they are in a war zone. It would be unfair to expect them to meet the same schedules as they could if back home. Hence it may allow them extra time to reply to the papers. That might be frustrating for a spouse sitting at home wanting to get it over and done with.

Divorce could affect a non-military partner’s right to healthcare and other benefits

Unless you have been married for 20 years or more, a non-military spouse will lose the right to TRICARE. Even then, they will only retain it if your marriage fulfills other requirements. They may also lose other benefits that the ability to live on military bases brings, such as cheap accommodation and shopping. Divorce may also affect their right to a share of their partner’s military pension.

The military partner might be at a disadvantage in custody arrangements

Most courts would consider the non-military spouse better placed to have the child live with them due to the unpredictability of military life. You’ll need to look at how military member retains a good relationship with their children, perhaps having them for chunks of time when home or through the use of virtual visitation while away.

If you are considering a military divorce, seek legal help to understand more.

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