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Understanding Military Divorce


If you’re in the Armed Forces or if you’re married to someone who is, you may be wondering, “How is military divorce different than civilian divorce?” Legally, those who serve in the US military are no different than anyone else, so the basic procedures are the same as they are for those not serving in the military.

However, if you or your spouse are in the military, there will be some subtle nuances to your divorce. For example, it could take longer to get divorced, especially if one of you are on active duty in a remote area or stationed overseas.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

As someone getting a military divorce, you’ll be interested in learning about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), which guides military personnel regarding child support, spousal support, and military pay/pension.

When a service member and their spouse decide to get a divorce, many concerns arise. The non-military spouse is often interested in continued eligibility for healthcare benefits, and they want to know if they’re eligible for a portion of their spouse’s military retired pay. The USFSPA addresses these concerns and more.

“The USFSPA does not automatically entitle a former spouse to a portion of the member's retired pay. A former spouse must have been awarded a portion of a member's military retired pay as property in their final court order. The USFSPA also provides a method of enforcing current and/or previously owed (arrears) child support and current alimony awarded in the court order,” according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), when one spouse files divorce papers on the military spouse who is on active duty, the service member can request a “stay” on the divorce proceeding if their military duties prevent them from responding to a divorce action. The SCRA also lets service members delay other claims, such as those for child custody and support, and spousal support. Initially, the stay can last 90 or more days, and the court can extend the stay another 90 days, but the divorce cannot be delayed forever.

Need help filing a military divorce in Katy or Cypress? Contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC today.