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Military members face unique issues in divorce

Military divorce is one of the topics we write about from time to time on this blog. One of the things we hope to make clear about the topic is that there are additional issues that can arise for couples in which one or both parties are military members. Procedurally, divorce is the same for everybody, but special circumstances for military couples can affect determinations of child support, child custody and property division.

One thing to keep in mind about these cases is that federal law, via the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, directs state courts to address child support, spousal support, military retirement pay and pensions with state statutes. 

In the area of property, there are number of questions the can come up. Whether the issue is military retirement, calculating the marital share for active service members, or factoring in thrift savings plans or Survivor Benefit Plans, it is important to work with an attorney who understands the rules that apply.

Child custody is another area where military members face unique challenges or issues. For parents who are uncertain about when and for how long they will be deployed, it is important to take an approach that takes their circumstances into account. In some cases, family courts display bias against parents who are military members, and having a legal advocate can help ensure that the protections available for such parents are applied.

All of this is to say: if you are going to be involved in a military divorce, retain legal counsel that is knowledgeable and experienced in this area. 

Source:, “Don’t Cut Corners During a Military Divorce,” J.J. Montanaro, March 14, 2014. 

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