5 Ways Military Divorce Is Different From Civilian Divorce

Whether you, or your spouse in the military are considering divorce, military divorce comes with its own set of challenges and complexities that are different from those in civilian divorce.

According to military divorce Attorney Todd K. Mohink, one of the most critical aspects of a military divorce is determining how much of the military retirement plan the nonmilitary spouse is entitled to receive. For service members on active duty or stationed overseas, legal representation becomes essential to protect their financial and parental rights.

We will discuss the difference between military divorce and civilian divorce so you will have a clearer understanding of the distinct aspects of military divorce and be better equipped to handle the process.

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Unique Challenges of Deployment

The unique challenges of deployment can make military divorce an even more emotionally complex experience. When one or both partners are deployed, the physical distance and time apart can put a strain on the relationship. Communication becomes difficult, and the inability to be there for each other during important moments can be heartbreaking.

The constant worry about the safety of the deployed spouse adds an additional layer of stress and anxiety. The frequent moving and constant changes in living arrangements can make it more challenging to establish stability and a sense of home for the family.

Coping with these unique challenges requires a strong support system and open lines of communication. Being able to understand and empathize with each other’s experiences and emotions will be important for both partners in handling the complexities of military divorce.

Division of Military Benefits

When you get divorced in the military, you’ll have to consider how your benefits will be divided. Division of military benefits is a unique aspect of military divorce that sets it apart from civilian divorce. Military benefits, such as healthcare, retirement pay, and housing allowances, are considered marital property and subject to division during divorce proceedings.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) outlines the rules for the division of military benefits, including the eligibility criteria and the calculation methods. 

Keep in mind that the division of benefits is not automatic and requires a court order or a written agreement between the divorcing spouses. There are also factors that influence the division of military benefits such as the length of the marriage and the overlap of the military service.

For a fair and equitable division of these benefits, it is advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable attorney specializing in military divorce.

Impact on Children and Family Dynamics

Divorce is never easy, where children and family dynamics are affected. The situation becomes even more intricate when military life is in the equation.

The frequent deployments, long separations, and constant moves can take a toll on your children’s emotional well-being. They may struggle with feelings of abandonment, anxiety, and confusion. The constant changes in their routine and living arrangements can be overwhelming for them. 

As the strains of the divorce on your family dynamics become intense,. The stress and tension between you and your spouse can spill over into your interactions with your children, causing even more emotional turmoil. 

To handle these challenges, prioritize open communication, provide stability and consistency, and seek professional help if needed to support your children and maintain healthy family dynamics during this challenging time.

Legal Considerations and Jurisdiction

Legal aspects and determining jurisdiction can be a complex maze during a military divorce. When it comes to military divorces, there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed. One important consideration is the issue of jurisdiction.

Military divorce jurisdiction can be complicated because military members and their spouses may have different residency requirements than civilians. Generally, the military member’s state of legal residence is the state where they were stationed at the time of filing for divorce. 

If the military member is deployed or stationed in a different state, they may have the option to file for divorce in either their state of legal residence or the state where they are currently stationed. Consult with an attorney who specializes in military divorce to better understand the specific legal considerations and jurisdiction requirements in your case.

Support Systems and Resources for Military Families

As a military member going through a divorce, you may find solace in knowing that there are organizations specifically designed to help you and your family during this difficult time. 

These support systems can offer a variety of resources, such as counseling services, legal advice, and financial assistance. Support groups are there too, where you can connect with other military families who have experienced similar situations. These networks can provide a sense of community and understanding, helping you feel less alone. 

Do take advantage of these support systems and resources to ensure that you have the necessary help and guidance when going through the unique challenges of a military divorce.


Military divorce presents unique challenges and considerations, yet there are support systems and resources available to assist military families through this difficult time. It is always a good choice to consult professionals or a military divorce attorney who understands the complications of dividing properties and military benefits.

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