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How is the Military Divorce Process Different?

Well over a million people serve in the United States Armed Forces, so it should come as no surprise that many of them choose to also have families while serving, which means they could be subject to family law matters including divorce. The divorce process for military personnel is in many ways the same as those in the private sector, but there are also additional rules that need to be followed that make it significantly different.

What State Should You File?

Typically, you’re only allowed to file for divorce in a state that either spouse has legal residence in. This is important because every state handles division of assets differently, which could influence how your case proceeds. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act says that the military member’s state of residence will always get the final say in how the pension is divided, however the serving spouse could agree to use the other spouse’s home state’s laws.

Child Support

General divorce courts are responsible for determining if child support payments are necessary and if so, how much they should be. Military laws also require that service members be able to support their children adequately, though far too many don’t fully understand or consider the details of a service member’s compensation. These values can change dramatically during deployments, base transfers, and other events as well, so both spouses need to be flexible about this provision.


When married, both spouses receive their healthcare directly from the military. Once a divorce is finalized, the non-serving spouse then has two options to make sure they continue to have healthcare coverage. The first, if both spouses have been married for at least 20 years, the serving member has served for at least 20 years, and the two terms have overlapped for at least 20 years, then the non-serving spouse may be eligible for TRICARE coverage at no cost to them.

Second, a non-military spouse who is not eligible for TRICARE may buy coverage from the Continued Health Care Benefit Program. As long as the non-serving spouse is entitled to a share of the service member’s pension, has not remarried below the age of 55, and meets all application deadlines, they can often use this insurance for roughly around $450 per month.

If you’re a military family member who needs help with their divorce, make sure you have an experienced Illinois divorce attorney on your side. Call Wakenight & Associates, P.C. at (888) 351-2843 now to schedule a case evaluation.


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