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How a military divorce can differ from a civilian divorce

Getting a divorce is rarely easy. There are always issues that develop that are difficult to agree upon, can fray the nerves of the spouses and wind up costing them money. But, for a member of the U.S. military, divorce can sometimes be even more difficult. That is because there are certain aspects of a military divorce that can be more complicated than a civilian one. So, here is a brief look at some of these issues that affect Virginian military families.

One reason why a military divorce can be more complicated than a civilian divorce is the different aspects are controlled by state and federal law. For instance, it is possible that the state the couple decides to divorce in may be overseen by federal law, while other areas of the divorce are controlled by state law. But, it is important to remember that federal law protects active duty military members from being issued divorce papers while they are on active duty and for at least 60 days immediately after their active duty tour ends.

Many states will let a person in the military and their spouse divorce in the state where the military person is stationed. But, military personnel and their spouses can also choose to divorce in the state where the filing spouse currently lives, or the state where the military member claims legal residency. Nonetheless, once the decision on which state to divorce in has been decided, the rules of that state will have jurisdiction over all of the issues of that divorce, including child custody and child support.

Military pensions can also be a complicated aspect of a military divorce. Any Virginia resident who is also a member of the military and is contemplating a divorce may want to speak to a military divorce attorney to find out how state and federal laws may affect their divorce.

Source:, "Military divorce," accessed on April 17, 2016

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