Divorce Involving Military Personnel

After October 2001, when combat in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the U.S. the Defense Department noted and got concerned over the rate of divorce involving military personnel suddenly increased.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted to the deployment of more than 2 million American service men and women to these two countries – to search for the brains behind the 9/11 attack. Due to the long deployment, however, the most common effect was a decision and move by civilian spouses to divorce their military partner.

It was also noted by the Defense Department that the rate of divorce among military couples increased steadily from 2001 to 2011 – the beginning and the duration of the Afghan operations. Divorce was higher between couples who were childless and who got married before 2001. Studies sponsored by the Department of Defense somehow manifested that civilian spouses who were married to service men/women after 2001were more prepared to accept the consequences of being married to a military personnel, and that includes long deployments when called to active duty, as well the risk of being a casualty of war.

Even if one of the spouses in a divorce case is a military personnel, the divorce process will still have to be governed (largely) by state laws and procedures. There are some states, though, that consider certain military regulations and federal statutes in a divorce process, such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. The Act is about division of military retired pay, medical assistance and other benefits.

It is explained by a San Antonio Military Divorce Attorney from the law firm Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht that “Military divorces are subject to greater scrutiny and regulation than their civilian counterparts. While regular divorce only falls under the state’s jurisdiction, a military divorce will be looked at by both state and federal courts. There are special rules and requirements that make a military divorce a substantially different experience than a non-military one. For example, one may have to travel back to their home of record for a court to be able to grant a divorce, while civilians can just travel to the court where they live. To this end, the effect such a divorce has on one’s life also varies from those going through a traditional divorce, and can also introduce overwhelming stress and hardship.

There are also highly specific factors involving military divorces, such as GI bill benefits, military pensions, and military health insurance. Thus, for a more guaranteed smooth transition into your new life, you may require professional and knowledgeable legal representation from an attorney who is familiar with both state and military divorce laws. This just means that you should not enter divorce proceedings unprepared — hire a knowledgeable military divorce attorney to represent you.