Divorcing Someone Who Is In The Military | FAQs

Posted on: 21 November 2018


For the most part, active duty members who get a divorce do not have any more hurdles to go through than any other couple. However, there are a few special rules that can apply that can make the process of divorcing an active service member a little more complicated. If you are the petitioner of the divorce, there are going to be a few questions that come about. Take a look at some of what you will want to know when you are filing to divorce someone in the military or armed forces. 

What does it mean if the divorce is governed by state and federal laws?

Most people who file for a divorce only have to follow the laws in their state to initiate the process. However, if you are married to an armed forces member, there are also federal laws that will come into play as well. For example, the federal laws may dictate where you are going to be able to file for a divorce. So maybe you will be required to file for a divorce in the state where your family is currently stationed instead of the state where you came from. 

Will automatic stay laws apply if your spouse is currently deployed?

Civil matters can be put on hold while an active service member is deployed. The reason this is the case is the federal government tries to give those in the military the ability to focus on their duties in service while they are deployed. Therefore, an automatic stay may be something that comes up. What this means is, your spouse will not have to react or respond to divorce proceedings for a period of time. Sometimes, the divorce filing could be prolonged until your spouse gets back home, but in general, even if they do not come back home for a while, you should expect the divorce process to take longer. 

Will you still be eligible for military benefits?

You will still have access to certain benefits until the divorce is finalized, such as medical insurance. However, once you have finalized the divorce, you will only have access to certain military benefits if you meet the outlined criteria known as the 20/20/20 rule. You must have been married for at least 20 years with 20 years served during that time frame by your spouse, and there were 20 years of overlap of marriage and service time. 

For more information, contact your local divorce lawyer today.