How Do Military Divorce Proceedings Differ from Other Divorces?

Photo of a woman and a man with their hands clasped before divorce attorneys

If you or your spouse are in the military, then you might be wondering if divorce proceedings will differ from civilian divorces. Military divorces are not necessarily more complicated than regular divorces, but they do have special requirements and rules that apply. If you are interested in filing for a military divorce, then you should know these differences and how they can apply to you and your family.

What Are the Different Military Divorce Laws and Requirements?

  • Federal and state laws. The proceedings of military divorce are governed by both state and federal laws. Federal laws, for example, can affect what court your divorce will take place in or how any military pensions are divided. State laws, on the other hand, can affect how alimony and child support are allocated. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, all U.S. servicemen and women cannot be sued or file for divorce while on active duty, or for 60 days following active duty.
  • A court must gain jurisdiction, or authority, before it can grant a military divorce to military members and/or spouses. In other divorces, jurisdiction is usually determined based on where the person lives. In military divorces, however, jurisdiction could be where the person holds legal residence, even if he or she is stationed somewhere else.
  • One large factor of military divorce that you and your spouse will have to determine is which state to file for the divorce. Usually you will have three options:
    • The state where the spouse filing lives in
    • The state where the military member is stationed
    • The state where the military member lists legal residency

Whichever state you and your spouse file your divorce in, issues such as child support, child custody and property distribution will be governed by the laws of the state where the petition is filed. It is also crucial to remember the protections provided under the SCRA, so any divorce proceedings will have to begin after you or your spouse are not on active duty.

There are other differences that might apply in your military divorce, such as how military benefits and pensions are divided and how the court will handle child support and spousal support. For more information on your military divorce, it could be helpful to contact an experienced divorce attorney. Contact our San Diego Divorce law firm today for an initial consultation.