Divorce is seldom easy, no matter the circumstances. However, if one spouse serves in the military, there are special factors that can cause serious issues if both parties are not informed. The ramifications of military divorce for both the servicemember and the civilian spouse can be long-reaching, and understanding one's rights before the settlement is final can make a difference in one's future.
There are some things a couple may take for granted. For example, determining the state in which to file may seem straightforward; however, one spouse may want to file for divorce in Texas if that is his or her home state, and the other may want to file in the state where he or she is stationed. It will be important to know each state's statutes for child support, alimony and military retirement before making this decision.
Military retirement is often a complex matter in divorce cases. The calculation of how much of the servicemember's pension the civilian spouse is eligible to receive is based on years married and years of service, and it can be confusing. However, if one waits until after the divorce to consider those benefits, it may be too late. In addition, survivor benefits do not automatically remain with a divorced spouse, and this must be discussed as part of the settlement.
Other elements of military life, such as TRICARE, base privileges and the thrift savings plan may be part of a divorce settlement under certain circumstances. Understanding those circumstances is vital if a military or civilian spouse is facing divorce. Military divorce has many unique factors that require special knowledge and skill. Having the assistance of a Texas attorney with experience in military divorce may make all the difference.
Source: military.com, "Understanding Divorce in the Military", Accessed on Feb. 12, 2017