Military divorces are almost identical to civilian divorces. They come with the same financial and emotional pain but, because it is the military, there are a few special additional rules imposed on service members. The reason for this is because the military exists in both the federal and civilian spheres, so military members are bound by both sets of laws. This creates some idiosyncrasies that people may not usually anticipate. This article will go over some of these differences.
Active duty service members are shielded by federal law from being sued or starting divorce proceedings, when they are on active duty. The purpose is so that they can focus their energies on defending the country rather than on a pending lawsuit or divorce. Additionally, divorce proceedings implicate both state and federal law. State law will affect alimony, child support and property division, whereas federal law determines how military pensions are divided. Military law also has special rules that enforce spousal and child support, these rules are often harsher than their civilian counterparts.
Furthermore, military personnel are often not legal residents in the state in which they are stationed. Their legal residence is usually where they enlisted or where they elected to have their legal residence. Legal residence is important because it determines which court has jurisdiction over you. Jurisdiction means the court is able to render a decision over your matter. For military personnel, this can mean their divorce must be affected in a state that is on the other side of the country. Luckily, most states have passed laws that specifically allow military personnel to file for divorce if they reside in that state or are stationed in that state.
If you are considering divorce then you may want to speak to an attorney, especially if you are in the military. There are special rules that apply only to service members which can catch many people by surprise. A professional can help walk you through the applicable laws and how they may affect you.