When members of the military divorce, there are different procedures that must be followed than when civilians divorce. As a military spouse, you also have benefits afforded to you that an ordinary civilian would not. It is essential to understand your benefits and other minute details to ensure you receive a fair outcome and legal representation.

Where can you get divorced?

Unlike civilian divorces, military divorces are subject to federal and state laws. Generally, for a court to hold a divorce hearing, it needs to have jurisdiction over the area in which the spouses live. This can be difficult for a military couple because they may not live in the state they legally reside. They also may not have lived long enough in their current state to claim residency.

Specifically, for military divorces, most states will allow you to file for divorce in:

  • Your state of legal residence
  • The military member’s legal residence
  • The state in which the military member is on duty

Understanding jurisdiction for divorce is crucial to the benefits you could receive. Some states don’t allow the division of a service member’s pension.

What benefits does the military offer you?

As a military spouse, you are offered the same benefits that a service member would be afforded. This includes access to military lawyers who can help you at no cost. To avoid any conflict of interest, you and your spouse must have different legal representation. However, these military lawyers cannot represent you in court. If your divorce ends up going to court, the military lawyers can help you find a civilian lawyer to represent you.

If you believe that there is no chance of you two agreeing on a settlement, your divorce hearing may go to court. In this instance, working with the military lawyers to find legal representation might be in your best interest.