Divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly difficult when one or both spouses is in the armed forces. Military divorce presents technical requirements and considerations that civilians don’t have to worry about.
The legal process of divorce is generally controlled by the law of the state where the spouses live. This means if both spouses live in Texas, they must follow the laws of Texas when resolving issues in property division, child custody and child support.
This can create some difficulties for military members who are stationed in other states or deployed overseas.
Retirement accounts are difficult to divide in all kinds of divorces, and military divorces are no exception. But military personnel and their spouses depend on their military benefits throughout their lives. In some cases, this extends even to their housing.
Generally, both spouses can keep their health care, commissary and exchange benefits until the divorce is finalized.
However, in many cases they will lose their military family housing 30 days after they begin living separately.
In some cases, the military will pay for the moving expenses of a non-military spouse who has been living overseas with a military spouse.
Many nonmilitary spouses receive their health care benefits through the Tricare program. They lose these benefits in divorce, but have the option to continue coverage for up to 36 months by paying for it.
In cases involving marriages of long duration, spouses may continue to receive benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.
To learn how the law will apply to the facts of a specific case, it’s best to consult with professionals who are familiar with military divorce.