military divorce attorney

In this blog post, we will explore the steps involved in a military marriage separation and highlight the importance of hiring the right military divorce attorney to navigate this complex process successfully.

The Process of a Military Marriage Separation

Military marriages, just like civilian marriages, can face challenges that sometimes lead to separation and divorce. However, the process of a military marriage separation involves unique aspects that require specialized legal attention.

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Military Divorce

Military divorce involves specific considerations that differ from civilian and military divorces, and military divorces together. Factors such as deployment, frequent relocations, and the division of military benefits require careful attention during the separation process. Military divorce attorneys are well-versed in these complexities and can provide the necessary guidance and expertise.

Consultation with a Military Divorce Attorney

The first step in the process of a military marriage separation is to consult with a qualified, military spouse divorce attorney. This initial consultation family law attorney allows you to discuss your unique situation and concerns, while the attorney can assess the legal implications of your military marriage divorce decree and provide tailored advice.

One attorney understands one of the significant aspects of a military divorce is the division of military benefits, including retirement pay, healthcare coverage, and housing allowances. These benefits are subject to specific rules and regulations, and a military divorce attorney will work to ensure a fair distribution based on the applicable federal laws below.

Residency Requirements and Jurisdiction

Determining the proper jurisdiction to file for divorce with your military divorce lawyer is crucial. Military members and their spouses have additional options when it comes to choosing legal residency and the state in which to file for divorce. An experienced military divorce attorney can guide you through the residency requirements and help you make the best choice to file for divorce in your case.

Division of Military Benefits

Child Custody and Support Matters

In cases involving children, child custody and child support and arrangements must be established. Military divorce attorneys have experience navigating the complexities of both child support and custody matters, including the unique challenges posed by military service, such as deployment and relocation.

Negotiations and Settlements

Once all relevant issues are identified, negotiations between the two parties then may take place to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. A skilled military divorce attorney will advocate for your best interests throughout the negotiation process, aiming to achieve a fair and equitable resolution.


If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, litigation or other proceedings may become necessary. Your military divorce attorney will represent you in court, presenting your case and advocating on your behalf.

It is essential to have an attorney who is experienced in military divorce litigation and can effectively navigate the legal system to protect your rights.

The process of a military marriage separation is a complex and often a challenging journey that requires the expertise of a skilled military divorce attorney.

From understanding the unique challenges of military divorce to navigating complicated issues such as the division of military benefits, who pays child support, custody matters, and negotiations, the right attorney can guide you through each step, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

If you find yourself facing a military marriage separation, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance from a knowledgeable military divorce attorney.

They possess the specialized knowledge and experience to provide you with the support you need during this difficult time and ensure a smoother transition into the next chapter of your life.

military divorce attorney

Military divorce is a unique area of family law that requires a deep understanding of both military regulations and civilian legal processes.

Military lawyers, also known as Judge Advocates or JAG officers, play a crucial role in navigating the legal side of military divorce.

Specialized Knowledge of Military Regulations

One of the primary advantages of working with a military lawyer in a military divorce is their specialized knowledge of military regulations and federal statutes.

These lawyers possess a deep understanding of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and other relevant laws that impact military divorces.

This expertise ensures that all legal proceedings and agreements align with the specific requirements and protections afforded to service members and their spouses.

Guidance on Jurisdiction and Residency Requirements

Military divorces often involve unique jurisdictional considerations due to frequent relocations and the possibility of service members being stationed in different states or even overseas.

Military lawyers can provide guidance on the residency requirements and help determine the appropriate jurisdiction for filing the first divorce papers.

They ensure compliance with both military rules and state laws, allowing for a smooth and legally valid divorce process.

Protection of Military Benefits

A significant aspect of military divorce is the division of military benefits, including retirement pay, healthcare coverage, and housing allowances.

Military lawyers understand the intricacies of these benefits and work diligently to protect the rights and interests of service members and their spouses during the property division process.

They ensure compliance with the USFSPA, which governs the division of military pensions, and health care benefits, and help negotiate fair settlements that take into account the unique circumstances of military service.

Addressing Deployment and Custody Matters

Deployment and other military obligations can complicate child custody matters in a military divorce.

Military lawyers assist service members and their spouses in establishing custody arrangements that consider the best interests of the military member and the children while taking into account the unique challenges posed by military service, such as frequent relocations and deployments.

They work to develop parenting plans that provide stability and support for the children while considering the service member’s obligations and the need for flexibility.

Representation in Court

In situations where amicable agreements cannot be reached, military lawyers provide representation in court. They advocate for their client’s rights and interests, presenting a compelling case and navigating the legal system on their behalf.

Whether it’s addressing property division, custody disputes, or other contested matters, military lawyers possess the necessary courtroom experience and knowledge to protect their clients’ legal rights effectively.

Military lawyers play a vital role in the legal side of military divorce, providing invaluable guidance, expertise, and representation for service members and their spouses.

With their specialized knowledge of military regulations, jurisdictional requirements, and the division of military benefits, they navigate the complexities of military divorce to ensure fair and equitable resolutions.

If you are going through a military divorce, seeking the assistance of a qualified military lawyer can help protect your rights and provide the legal support you need during this challenging time.

military divorce attorney

Helping your Children Deal with Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process for everyone involved, especially children. As parents, it is essential to prioritize your children’s well-being and provide them with the support they need during this difficult time.

Open and Honest Communication

Clear and honest communication is key when discussing divorce with your children. It is important to have age-appropriate conversations, allowing them to ask questions and express their feelings.

Reassure your children that the divorce is not their fault and that both parents still love and care for them. Be prepared to listen actively and provide comfort, acknowledging their emotions and validating their experiences.

Maintain Routine and Stability

During the divorce process, it is crucial to provide a sense of stability and routine for your children. Maintaining familiar routines, such as regular mealtimes and bedtime rituals, can help provide a sense of security amid the changes.

Consistency and structure help children feel safe and provide a sense of normalcy during a time of uncertainty.

Encourage Expression of Feelings

Children may experience a wide range of emotions during and after a divorce, including sadness, anger, confusion, and anxiety. Encourage them to express their feelings openly and provide a safe and non-judgmental space for them to do so.

Help them identify and label their emotions, and consider engaging them in activities that allow for creative expressions, such as drawing, journaling, or storytelling.

Co-Parenting and Collaboration

Maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship can significantly impact how children adjust to divorce. Collaborate with your ex-spouse to establish consistent rules, routines, and expectations across both households.

Encourage open communication between parents and avoid putting children in the middle of conflicts. When children see their parents working together, it can help alleviate stress and create a more stable environment for them.

Seek Professional Support

Sometimes, children may benefit from professional support during the divorce process. Family therapists or counselors with experience in divorce-related issues can help children navigate their emotions, develop coping strategies, and provide a neutral space for them to express their concerns.

Consider seeking professional help if you notice significant changes in your children’s behavior, academic performance, or emotional well-being.

Emphasize Love and Reassurance

Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce does not change that. Offer consistent affection, support, and quality time to reinforce the stability of your relationship with them. Be patient and understanding, as each child may process the divorce in their own time and manner.

Maintain a Healthy Self-Care Routine

Taking care of your own well-being is essential in supporting your children through divorce. Engage in self-care activities that help reduce stress and maintain your emotional and physical health.

By prioritizing your own well-being, you can be better equipped to provide the support and stability your children need.

Helping your children deal with divorce requires open communication, stability, and understanding. By prioritizing their emotional well-being, maintaining routines, and providing a safe space for expression, you can help them navigate the challenges of divorce and promote their healing and adjustment.

Remember, seeking professional support and practicing self-care are equally important in ensuring that both you and your children emerge from the divorce process with resilience and strength.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law enacted in 1982 that addresses the division of military retirement pay and other benefits in cases of divorce or separation involving members of the U.S. military.

The primary purpose of the USFSPA is to provide guidelines and procedures for the equitable distribution of their military retired pay, pensions, and benefits between service members and their former spouses.

Key provisions of the USFSPA include:

  1. Direct Payment of Military Retired Pay: The USFSPA allows state courts to order the direct payment of a portion of the service member’s military retirement pay to a former spouse as part of a divorce settlement or court-ordered property division. This is commonly referred to as a “military pension division” or a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” (QDRO).

  2. Continued Eligibility for Certain Benefits: The USFSPA recognizes that certain military benefits acquired during a marriage may continue to be available to former spouses after divorce. These benefits include access to healthcare facilities (such as TRICARE), commissary privileges, and exchange privileges, subject to specific eligibility requirements.

  3. Jurisdiction and Enforcement: The USFSPA provides guidelines for determining jurisdiction in military divorce cases and establishes procedures for enforcing court-ordered division of military retirement pay. It allows state courts to assert jurisdiction over military retirement pay, regardless of the state in which the divorce took place or the location of the service member’s duty station.

  4. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP): The USFSPA addresses the Survivor Benefit Plan, which is an annuity program that provides income to surviving spouses of retired service members after their death. It allows state courts to require service members to elect former spouses as beneficiaries under the SBP, ensuring continued financial support for former spouses even after the service member’s death.

It is important to note that the USFSPA does not automatically entitle former spouses to a share of military benefits. Instead, it provides a framework for state courts to determine the division of military retirement pay and the continuation of certain benefits based on individual circumstances and the laws of each state.

The USFSPA has had a significant impact on the treatment of military benefits in civilian divorce cases, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of these benefits between service members and their former spouses.

It is advisable for individuals going through a military divorce to consult with a qualified military divorce attorney to understand the specific implications of the USFSPA and how it may apply to their case.

military divorce attorney

Help for Spouses of Service Members

During a divorce involving one spouse of a service member, there are various types of help and support available to spouses to navigate the process and address their specific needs. Here are some key sources of assistance for spouses of service members during divorce:

Spouses of service members have access to military legal assistance offices, which can provide guidance and support throughout the military divorce lawyer and process.

These family law, offices often offer free or low-cost legal advice, document preparation, and assistance with understanding the legal aspects of military divorce. Military legal assistance attorneys can help spouses understand their rights, responsibilities, and available options.

Family Support Centers

Family Support Centers, commonly found on military installations, provide a range of services to support military families, including spouses going through divorce. These centers offer counseling, workshops, support groups, and resources to help spouses cope with the emotional, financial, and practical challenges of divorce. They can also provide referrals to community resources and services as needed.

Nonprofit Organizations:

Numerous nonprofit organizations focus on supporting military families, including spouses during divorce. These organizations offer a wide range of services such as counseling, legal assistance, financial guidance, and emotional support nonmilitary spouse.

Examples include organizations like the Military Family Life Consultants (MFLC), Blue Star Families, and the National Military Family Association. These organizations can provide valuable resources and support tailored to the unique needs and financial situation of military spouses.

Professional Counseling:

Emotional support is crucial during divorce, and professional counseling can help spouses navigate the challenges they face.

Therapists and counselors with experience in military divorce and family issues can provide a safe and confidential space to process emotions, develop coping strategies, and work towards healing and resilience.

Military installations often have mental health services available, and spouses can also seek counseling through community providers or private practitioners.

Online Communities and Support Groups:

Engaging with online communities and support groups can provide spouses with a sense of connection, understanding, and shared experiences.

There are numerous online platforms, forums, and social media groups dedicated to supporting military spouses going through divorce.

These virtual communities offer opportunities to share stories, seek advice, and find empathy and support from others who have faced similar challenges.

Engaging the services of a qualified military divorce attorney is crucial to protect the rights and interests of spouses during divorce. A knowledgeable attorney with experience in military divorce can provide legal guidance, negotiate on behalf of the spouse, and ensure that all legal processes and requirements are properly addressed.

Legal representation can help spouses navigate complex legal issues such as marital property division, divorce decree child custody, and the division of military benefits.

Spouses of service members going through a divorce can access various forms of assistance to help them navigate the process and address their unique needs.

From military legal assistance and family support centers to nonprofit organizations, professional counseling, online communities, and legal representation, these resources provide valuable guidance, support, and information during this challenging time.

It is important for spouses to reach out and take advantage of these available resources to ensure they receive the help they need throughout the divorce process.

What Other Military Benefits Can Former Military Spouses Keep After Divorce?

When a military divorce occurs, former military spouses may be eligible to retain certain military benefits depending on various factors, including the length of the marriage and the duration of the service member’s military career.

While specific entitlements can vary, here are some common military benefits that former military spouses may be able to keep after divorce:

Continued Healthcare Coverage

Former military spouses who meet specific criteria may be eligible to retain healthcare coverage through the military’s TRICARE program. The requirements typically include being married to the service member for at least 20 years, with at least 20 years of the marriage overlapping the service member’s military service.

Alternatively, if the disability benefits of the former spouse do not meet these criteria, they may be eligible for transitional healthcare coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) for up to 36 months.

Exchange and Commissary Privileges

Former military spouses who meet the eligibility criteria can retain their access to military exchanges (department stores) and commissaries (grocery stores). These privileges allow them to shop on military installations and take advantage of the cost savings and convenience these facilities offer non-military spouses.

Military ID Card:

In certain cases, former military spouses may be able to retain their spouse or military ID card after divorce. The Department of Defense issues the ID card, and eligibility typically depends on factors such as marital property, marital assets, the length of the marriage, the duration of the service member’s military service, and other specific circumstances. The ID card provides access to various military benefits and services.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP):

If the service member has opted for the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and elected coverage for their former spouse, the former spouse may be entitled to receive a portion of the service member’s retirement pay as a survivor benefit, even after divorce.

The SBP provides financial protection to surviving spouses and may be applicable in cases where the marriage lasted at least 10 years, with 10 years overlapping the service of a military spouse or family member who’s creditable military service.

It is important to note that the specific entitlements and eligibility requirements for military benefits can vary depending on factors such as the length of the marriage, the duration of military service, and the terms outlined in the divorce agreement.

It is recommended that former military spouses consult with a qualified military divorce attorney or contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for accurate and up-to-date information regarding their individual circumstances.

While military divorce brings about changes in the distribution of benefits, some former military spouses may be eligible to retain certain military benefits after divorce.

Healthcare coverage through TRICARE or CHCBP, exchange and commissary privileges, military ID card eligibility, and potential entitlement to survivor benefits under the SBP are among the benefits that may be available depending on various factors.

It is important for former military personnel and spouses to seek legal guidance and consult with relevant state law and authorities to understand their specific entitlements and ensure they receive the benefits they are eligible for.

Read more about us here and how I overcame adversity in the military and how you can too!

Final Thoughts On Military Divorce Attorney

In conclusion, hiring the right military divorce lawyer is crucial when navigating the complexities of a military divorce.

By following a few key steps, individuals can increase their chances of finding the attorney who best suits their needs:

By carefully considering these factors, individuals can make an informed decision when selecting a military divorce lawyer who will advocate for their rights, protect their interests, and guide them through the legal complexities of a military divorce.

Remember, finding the right, experienced military divorce lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of the divorce proceedings and ensure a smoother transition into the next chapter of life.