Military divorce is defined as a divorce where one of the parties (the “service member”) is active duty military, reserve or guard, or retired military. This is not a legal term that is recognized within the context of the law, but a lay term used to describe a divorce where one of the parties is a service member (regardless of the member’s status.) Being a service couple does not exempt the parties from the same requirements that civilian couples must meet when filing for divorce. However, military service creates unique issues when it comes to divorce because certain rules apply in military divorces that are different from civilian divorcees. Among the differences are:
- Compliance with military rules and regulations
- Obtaining service upon an active duty spouse
- Domicile or residence requirements for filing
- Division of the military pension
Military divorces are governed by a combination of federal and state law. Federal law dictates the distribution of a military pension and certain emergency child support orders. State laws mandate the handling of all other matters pertaining to a military divorce.