Image of a military family representing military divorce.

Military Divorce: How it Works

Divorce is a messy but necessary process. Those serving in the armed forces often find that a military divorce can be somewhat more complicated due to the service member’s situation. Many military divorces hit snags when dealing with military pensions, spousal support, and childcare or custody.

Spousal Support

In most divorce proceedings, the court will assume that if one spouse is unemployed, underemployed, or not formally educated, that it was through their own will or volition unless otherwise shown. In a military divorce, however, the transient nature of deployment can move the non-military spouse frequently, preventing them from being able to take classes consistently or hold down a job. 

These factors will be taken into consideration when it comes time to decide spousal support amounts. If the non-military spouse argues that they gave up career or education opportunities to support the career of the military spouse, then the judge may increase the spousal support to allow the non-military spouse the opportunity to pursue those ventures.


When it comes to deciding child custody and child support payments, the military spouse often loses out. Due to the nature of military life, the judge is unlikely to give primary or full custody to a parent who may be shipped out overseas with little notice. In fact, service members may end up with only occasional or limited visitation rights if they frequently deploy or move around.

Since most service members will not end up with primary child custody, they will often end up paying child support to their former spouse. If the spouse argues that they were forced to be a stay-at-home parent due to the military career of the service member, this may also result in an increase in either spousal or child support payments. 

Military Pension Division

Any service member who serves for 20 years or more will receive a lifetime pension in the form of a monthly allowance. This allowance has been ruled to count as a marital asset along with any other military pension or government-sponsored financial assets. As a result, a military divorce can shear these benefits in half. 

If you are facing a military divorce, you should consult with an experienced divorce & family law attorney. A divorce & family law attorney well-versed in local and military divorce law can help you protect the things that matter most to you in the divorce process whether that is your assets, your retirement, or your parental rights. 

The best place to find a divorce & family law attorney is Attorney at Law.

At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys and law firms allows us to match you with an experienced divorce & family law attorney in your area. Our partners have the resources, legal expertise, and experience to mediate the most contentious divorces. 

In addition to a distinguished case record, our partners also excel in client care. We understand the stress and difficulty of muddling through divorce proceedings. That’s why our partners prioritize keeping things quick, efficient, and to the point. 

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a free, no-obligation consultation and assert your marital rights.  

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