The military divorces in the United States are guided by special rules and requirements that make them different from civilian divorces. An attorney with Mansouri Law Offices, Mac Owen, mentions “the special laws apply to the service members and their spouses when they decide to go through a divorce.” Below is a discussion on the military divorce laws that affect the US service men and women who are planning to get a divorce.

Military divorce laws

The laws are governed by the state and federal laws. The federal laws come into play when the divorcing couples end up in court. It also provides provisions on how the military pensions are divided. State laws affect the way in which alimony and spousal support may be provided. Service members who are on active duty are protected from divorce proceedings in most cases. The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), protects the US service members from any divorce proceedings while they are on active duty.


A court must have the authority to hear the case before it grants a divorce to military spouses. The jurisdiction of military personnel is where the service man or woman has legal residence.

Service of process

Several states allow the military service members to file a divorce in the state they are stationed. The options of where you can file a divorce, “The military members have three choices when it comes to the place of filing the divorce. They can file the divorce in the state where the spouse filing lives or the state where the military spouse is based. The divorce can also be lodged in the state where the military member has legal residence. The laws of the state where the divorce is filed govern factors such as child custody, property distribution, and child support. This gives a service member different outcomes to choose from often since the laws are different in each location.”

Military pensions and benefits

The military pensions get divided between the spouses when they divorce. According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), the military retirement pay may be treated as either sole or community property. The amount to be awarded is determined under the specific state laws.

Spousal and child support

There are special rules that apply to spousal maintenance and child support. The rules ensure that military personnel’s family support obligations even after a divorce or separation. A court may enforce the spousal or child support obligations through various ways including garnishment, court-order, and allotment.

Military divorce statistics

The total estimate of men and women serving the US armed forces is 1.4 million. 1.2 million Of the total number is men. Women are estimated to be 202,000. As of 2012, the divorce rate among the military members was 3.5 percent. Research has shown that the divorce rate among the army personnel in on the rise. In the year 2000, the military divorce rate was 2.9 percent. By 2011, the divorce rate had increased to 4.1 percent.