Military Divorce – Everything Your Other Lawyer Didn’t Tell You


Did you know that divorce rates among military couples are significantly higher than those of civilian couples? And for each month that a spouse is deployed and away from their significant other, their chances of divorce go up.

Being in the military can have a significant impact on one’s home life and one’s relationships. If you’re going through a military divorce, then you want the process to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of confusion with regards to how these divorces operate.

Even some lawyers may be in over their heads when it comes to offering advice on military divorces. Luckily for you, we’ve got the information you need.

So keep on reading and we’ll walk you through the common mistakes that you might hear about military divorces and what the truth actually is.

1. Uncertainty About Survivor Benefits in Military Retirement

When it comes to their military retirement package, a lot of military members don’t specify their spouse’s entitlement to the survivor benefit annuity. Former spouses might also be entitled to this annuity. Because of this, it’s a good idea to consider the annuity when you’re drafting your divorce settlement.

2. Forgetting to Consider the Ten-Year Minimum Time for Military Entitlements

Benefits from the military are not like civilian benefits. The former spouse of a member of the military will need to have been married to that service member for at least ten years of their military career.

If you divorce someone who hasn’t been in the military for ten years while you’ve been married, then you may be affected financially.

3. Not Electing an Ex-Spouse as the Survivor Annuitant in Military Retirement

For divorce cases where the ex-spouse is entitled to retirement benefits from the military, it’s very important that the military member make this election within a year of the date of divorce.

If that military fails to do this and then passes away, the ex-spouse isn’t going to have any ability to get these benefits.

4. Incorrect Calculations of Income

When you’re calculating your income, you need to make sure that you’re including Hazard Pay, basic allowance for housing (BAH), Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), and other variations.

In order to make sure that child support and spousal support are calculated fairly and corrected, it’s crucial that you’re accurate in a military income assessment.

5. Relying on Judge Advocate General (JAG) Lawyers

You might be tempted to go to a Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorney for free advice. However, it’s important to note that these people don’t specialize in family law.

The proper course of action would be to ask for a family law referral from a JAG attorney. You can also reach out to our experienced attorneys who specialize in both military divorce and family law.

6. Telling the Military About a Service Member’s Indiscretions

Divorce can sometimes be a painful process. And you might be tempted to take out revenge on a partner who has abused your trust.

However, reporting specific details or indiscretions could possibly damage or even ruin that service member’s military career. Also, if you’re in a no-fault divorce state, then talking about indiscretions will likely not make a difference in your divorce settlement anyway.

7. Not Talking About Travel Issues in a Custody Case

Custody cases can often be difficult to navigate. These can become especially complicated in military divorce cases when it comes to the issue of traveling to see the children.

Costs and timing can become big obstacles to continued parenting time. This is particularly important when one of the parents is stationed in another country. Because of this, your divorce lawyer should include detailed travel arrangements for the parents.

8. Health Insurance Issues for Ex-Military Spouses

Unless the couple was married for at least twenty years of the military member’s service, it’s unlikely that a former spouse is going to get health benefits from the military after the divorce.

This will have to be considered in terms of its financial impact on the divorce settlement.

9. Failure to Consider Protections of the Service Member’s Relief Act

When you’re divorcing a member of the military, you need to consider the various laws and rules that are in place. Under the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act, a service member can be protected from divorce proceedings that take place while they’re overseas.

This means that a member of the military can finish their tour of duty before the case can proceed. This can significantly extend the timeline of divorce compared to civilian divorces.

10. Taking Legal Advice From Other Service Members

It might be a good place to go if you want career advice. However, other members of the military aren’t experts on family law.

If you depend on anecdotal advice from fellow members of the military, you could end becoming confused and unnecessarily stressed. Save yourself from making expensive mistakes and make sure that you hire a qualified family law attorney with experience in military divorce.

The Importance of Knowing About Military Divorce

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of what mistakes to avoid when it comes to military divorce. Many of these mistakes occur because spouses get advice from people who aren’t qualified in family law and military divorce attorneys.

Are you looking for accurate and helpful legal advice for your military divorce? If you are, then contact our experienced lawyers today and see how we can help you!