What’s different about divorce for military families?
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Any kind of divorce is stressful, expensive and time-consuming. However, military divorce can be particularly complicated and unpleasant for spouses who want to go their separate ways. Although some aspects of military divorce are the same, including that you go through the civilian family courts, there are other aspects that are different.

Understanding how military divorces are different than civilian divorces can help you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family during this time of change.

If you share children, you must file an updated Family Care Plan

The Family Care Plan a critical form used in the event that something happens during an individual’s deployment. Typically, the spouse of the service member plays a significant role in supporting and housing the children of a service member, which is one reason why this document, in particular, needs to have an update as soon as you decide to divorce and possibly again once the courts finalize your divorce.

Active service can complicate custody matters

Everything from living situations to leaving the country can abruptly change when you are an active service member in the military.

You will have to have more detail in your custody agreement than many other couples because you need to consider what will happen during a deployment and the need for special accommodations, like having virtual visitation when you can’t physically see your children. You may also need to include provisions that will allow you to see your children when you have an opportunity to take leave.

Health and retirement benefits complicate the situation as well

Although the courts are the ones who decide how to split up your property, military laws play a role here too. Especially in circumstances where your spouse or children will require ongoing insurance through a military plan or where a non-military spouse wants part of a military pension, benefits can be a major issue in military divorces.

There are other considerations as well, including the fact that adultery allegations can be particularly harmful for military service members, and that even housing for the family may have been dependent on the marriage.

If you or your spouse serve in the military, getting advice before you file for divorce can help you plan for the complications that the military will create for the end of your marriage.