What Are the Laws for a Military Divorce?

February 14, 2023

Being a military spouse comes with extra challenges because of the very nature of the job. Apart from the constant worry for the spouse in military service, there’s also the matter of being constantly on the move.

Because of these additional challenges to married life, it sometimes becomes inevitable for couples to divorce. However, this process is not as straightforward as a civilian divorce. A different set of rules applies to divorcing military members.

If you and your spouse are considering getting divorced, and one of you is in the military, here are some essential rules for active service members you should know about. 

Spousal Consent

The first thing you should note is that the consent of the military spouse is required before any divorce proceedings can prosper. They also need to sign a defendant’s affidavit of consent. 

This is important, especially for active military members, because they obviously will not be able to attend the proceedings as regularly as possible, if at all. Their absence on account of their duty already puts them at a disadvantage. 

That’s why it must be made absolutely clear that they are not only aware of the divorce proceedings, but that they actually consent to it too.


This is an important consideration, especially for military couples, because the jurisdiction determines the right location where the divorce should be filed. The tricky part is that military families tend to move around a lot. 

For divorce proceedings where one or both couples are involved in active military service, there are a few options that you can look into for jurisdiction: 

  • File in the home state where taxes are paid
  • File in the US resident
  • File in the state where the couple resided in the last six months
  • File in the state of the military station, although not necessarily a resident of that same state

Division of Assets

When it comes to the division of assets, the USFSPA (Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act) will apply.

A military spouse is granted several benefits, including health care, military retirement pay, commissary, and exchange benefits. Once the divorce is granted, the civilian former spouse will then lose these benefits and privileges.

While there are exceptions to the rule, there are special requirements that must first be fulfilled before they can become qualified. 

Of course, that’s on top of all the other typical things that must be addressed in a divorce, such as alimony, child custody, and support, division of homes, vehicles, jewelry, bank accounts, and other valuables, and more. 

These are some of the most basic concerns regarding divorce between a military couple. It is highly recommended that you seek proper legal advice from a divorce lawyer to ensure everything is in proper order.


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Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler