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Why is a military divorce more complex than a typical divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2023 | Divorce

It takes much longer to get divorced than it does to get married to someone. It is a relatively complex process to separate the lives of two adults who have shared a home and finances. If they have children, that adds another layer of complexity to this situation.

Every Louisiana divorce has the potential to be a contentious, messy legal process. However, there are a few extra considerations in play when one of the spouses in a divorcing couple is a military servicemember. Military divorces are notorious for being extra complicated for the people who want to file. Why are military divorces often more complex than standard civilian divorces?

The chain of command needs to know

An individual working for a private business typically does not need to disclose to their supervisor or coworkers that their marital status has changed unless they want to do so to get better support. People can choose to make their privacy their top priority and keep their divorce personal until the process is complete.

Unfortunately, that typically won’t be an option for those preparing for a military divorce. The chain of command will need to know about the changing marital status of the service member, as it may have an impact on benefits and living arrangements. Additionally, if there are minor children, the service member may need to file an updated family care plan in case of their future deployment.

Benefits may change

In many cases, divorcing military servicemembers need to split their pensions. They may need to negotiate terms related to insurance coverage and other benefits with their spouse. Certain rules dictate what happens with retirement benefits and other resources in a military divorce.

Although state law guides the division process, military law sets rules for distribution. Servicemembers will need to learn about the unique military rules that may apply to their cases.

Career sacrifices by non-military spouses are common

The final consideration that can complicate a military divorce in Louisiana will be the sacrifices made by the non-military spouse. Given the likelihood of frequent moves, they may have had to delay their career development or potentially leave the workforce entirely to help provide stability for the children in the family. Those sacrifices can influence custody, support and property division matters.

Although the same state laws apply to custody matters and property division decisions in military and civilian divorces, there are complicating factors that people need to understand as they prepare for negotiations or a hearing in family court if one or both spouses is an active servicemember. As such, learning more about military divorces can help those who are anticipating an upcoming divorce.