Military Divorce Challenges

military divorce

Military divorce can be an incredibly difficult and complex process. It is unique from a traditional civilian divorce in that military personnel and their families face extra challenges. From figuring out how to divide military benefits and pensions to dealing with the impact of frequent deployments and transfers, military divorce is often a particularly trying experience. In this blog post, we will explore the special considerations and difficulties of military divorce, and discuss strategies for navigating the process.

Understanding the Military Divorce Process

One of the first steps in a military divorce is to determine which state or country has jurisdiction over the case. This can be complicated if the couple moves frequently or lives in different places.

Once jurisdiction is determined, the process typically follows the same steps as a traditional divorce. This includes filing a petition, serving papers to the other spouse, and negotiating a settlement agreement. However, there are key differences that make a military divorce more challenging.

Military pensions and benefits are divided according to federal law, which can be complex and difficult to understand. In addition, military service members may be deployed or stationed overseas, which can complicate court appearances.

Seeking guidance from experienced attorneys and financial professionals can help ensure a fair and equitable settlement, while also protecting the interests of all parties involved. Another aspect that sets a military divorce apart is financial planning. Military pensions, healthcare, and housing allowances are just a few examples of benefits that can be subject to division or distribution during a divorce. It’s important to work with professionals who are knowledgeable in these areas and can help navigate the complex financial landscape of military divorce.

Financial Planning

Military couples face unique challenges when dividing their assets, determining alimony or spousal support, and dividing any military benefits.

For instance, military members receive special allowances, such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which can significantly impact asset division. Additionally, military spouses can continue to receive military benefits even after a divorce, which requires careful planning and negotiation.

Financial planning for military divorce should also consider tax implications and potential retirement plan changes. It’s essential to work with a knowledgeable financial planner who understands the complexities of military benefits and compensation. This will ensure that you receive your fair share and are protected throughout the process.

A military mediator is someone who is familiar with the unique challenges that military couples face and can help facilitate discussions and negotiations. By using military mediation, couples can work together to develop a financial plan that meets their individual needs and concerns.

Custody and Parenting Plans

In military divorce cases, one or both spouses may be active-duty military members. This can complicate matters when creating custody and parenting plans that work for everyone involved. It may be necessary to consider military deployments and moves, which can make it challenging to maintain regular visitation schedules.

Service members with custody or visitation rights to children from a former spouse or partner should strive to co-parent effectively. Military absences can disrupt existing arrangements, causing stress on the family but children deserve quality time and interaction with both parents, and they need a stable home and a positive environment, so every parenting plan should support these goals.

Similar to custody in non-military divorce proceedings, child custody is determined by the family court. If you and the other parent advocate a parenting plan, the judge will be looking for evidence that the plan will be in the children’s best interests, especially who will be able to uphold it best.

Among the specialized things your military parenting plan should cover include:

  • Visitations planned around the military parent’s leave, breaks or vacations that take priority over almost anything else

  • Details on travel using military discounts or military transportation

  • Steps to follow when and if one parent is deployed or transferred, such as creating a temporary parenting plan

  • Conditions about restoring reasonable custody rights when the transfer or deployment ends

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Begin the low-stress process with Scott F. Levin, Esq, at San Diego Divorce Mediation. You’ll have access to flexible options, including virtual meetings. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation and see the difference mediation can make. By choosing mediation, you can save time, money, and emotional distress, while maintaining control over the outcome of your divorce.