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What you should know about military divorces

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Divorce, Military Family Law |

Divorcing couples in Oklahoma need to know that if one or both are active in the military, this can affect their divorce. Their status in the military could affect the outcome and timeline of the case and how they should file.

Divorce differences

If one party is an active member of the military, the other one cannot pursue a divorce if the other does not consent. For the divorce proceedings to begin, the active military member has to sign an affidavit of consent. The Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act aims to prevent divorce proceedings from happening without the active military member being present.

The way assets get divided will also be different for active military members. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act addresses military retirement benefits, healthcare coverage and more. For the one divorcing an active military member, they must meet specific requirements to qualify to receive part of their soon-to-be ex-spouse’s retirement pay. It is not automatic.

There is a waiting period for divorces with an active service member. A 90-day waiting period is typically necessary to obtain a divorce, even if the couple has not been together for at least two years.

Similarities to civilian divorces

The process for a military divorce has several similarities to civilian divorces. Matters that must be agreed on include child custody, child support, alimony and dividing debt. Many of the forms are similar to military family law situations. When opinions differ in a military divorce, it is possible to seek assistance to mediate the dispute and reach a settlement agreement, just like in civilian cases.

Going through any divorce is challenging. However, knowing what rules apply to active service members can make the situation less frustrating and help both parties know what to expect.