Military marriages are challenging. With the potential for constant moves, deployment and months spent apart, the stress can feel like a burden on your marriage. If your relationship gets to an irreconcilable place, know that being in the military at the time of your divorce has advantages.

Service member benefits and protections

  • Free legal guidance. Both you and your spouse have access to free legal aid from your local legal assistance office. Working with experienced legal counsel in military matters is crucial as certain federal statutes and military regulations may apply to your divorce proceedings in addition to state and local law. However, the legal assistance office has one major caveat: Their attorneys will guide you, not litigate for you. Make sure that the private attorney you hire to take your case to court, if doing so becomes necessary, also has experience in military divorce.
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This law grants you time and opportunity to address your divorce proceedings while on active duty. You could be granted a postponement of civil proceedings or be immune to legal judgments based on failure to respond to a legal suit.

What you need to know about divorce overseas

It is always best to file for divorce in your own country, not the one you currently reside in as a result of your military station. If your divorce finalizes while you are overseas, there may be provisions to transport your spouse and family back to the U.S. at government expense.

While divorce is not something that anyone looks forward to, it’s important to know your rights and the resources available to you as a service member.