What should you know about military divorces?

Divorcing when you’re in the military is a major undertaking because your duties for work aren’t going to pause simply because you need to deal with things at home. As a result, there are many things you might be concerned about if you’re in this position.

Understanding a few points might help to give you some clarity about what may happen. It’s best to determine what might occur in your specific case so you know how to handle what’s coming.

What happens to retirement plans?

Your divorce decree will determine what happens to your retirement plan. Your ex can receive the portion of your retirement pay directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service if the 10/10/10 rule is met. This means that you have been married to them for at least 10 years during your military service time. It’s possible for them to get part of the retirement account if the 10/10/10 rule isn’t met, but the payments wouldn’t come directly from DFAS.

What about child custody matters?

Child custody is a unique challenge for military members. Your service can’t disqualify you from having custody of your children, but it does mean that you’ll need to take a few extra steps to resolve your legal challenges. For example, you’ll need to create a family care plan and turn it in to your commanding officer.

A family care plan lets the military know what to do about your children if you’re called out on a training or deployment, as well as what to do if you pass away. You must include information about your guardianship designation, including who will get the kids if a challenge is short-term and who will take the children if the issue is long-term.

It’s always best to work with someone familiar with military circumstances as you end your marriage. This will help to ensure that you fully understand your options and that someone who understands them is advocating on your behalf. If you’re going through a military divorce, there are special considerations to think about as you work through the process. Getting started as early in the matter as possible can help you to act effectively on the decisions that you feel are in your best interests.