Military Divorce Comes with Its Own Set of Rules and Procedures

Texans who serve in the nation’s military must often be away from home for months at a time or reassigned to new locations in other states or other countries. It’s a stressful situation, even for those who are not being shot at. That stress can take a toll on individuals, and on their spouses.

The Air Force Times recently analyzed statistics on its airmen and found that divorce rates were highest among members with the most stressful career fields. Those who served in the security forces had the largest number of divorced people. Among officers, clinical nurses had the highest number of divorced people.

Interestingly, the Air Force has also looked at how divorce rates correspond to gender. A study last year by the Rand Corporation found that women in the Air Force have higher divorce rates than men. Researchers found that these divorces were linked to longer deployments.

Divorce for people in the military is like divorce for civilians in most ways, but there can be some important differences. While state law controls most divorces, military divorce is governed by both state and federal law. State laws control most aspects of military divorces as well, but federal laws control the division of military pensions and several other important aspects.

Federal laws also place certain restrictions on when petitions for divorced may be filed and where divorces may be heard. Ordinarily, the state where the couple currently resides has jurisdiction to hear a divorce case, but for a military divorce, the service member may be able to have the case heard where he or she holds legal residence, even if the service member is not currently living there. This can be important for service members who have been forced to move to another state.

Because of the unusual legal technicalities and procedures involved, it is important for Texas servicemen and women going through military divorce to have the help of attorneys with experience in this area of the law.

Source:, “Divorce and the Air Force: Who stays married and who doesn’t,” Oriana Pawlyk, April 28, 2014

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