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Military divorces are still considered civil matters

Life in the military is something that is much different from life as a civilian. While it might seem like the military does infiltrate every aspect of life, this is only the case on the surface. There are some areas of your life that the military might impact but that it won't have the final say in. Your marriage is one of these.

The military views everything related to family law as civil matters and opts to let the court determine what is going to happen in the case of a divorce or child custody matter. There are only a few things that the military will do when you go through a divorce during your term of service.

If there are financial support orders in place, a garnishment will be placed on your check. This enables the military to pay the support directly out of your check without you having to do anything. The orders remain in place through the military until the court changes the order or it expires.

Another thing that the military will do is to extend benefits to former spouses who qualify for them. Typically, this requires a marriage of 20 years with 20 years of service and that 20 years of each of those overlap the other. The exception to this is when 15 years of marriage and military service overlap but the 20 years of marriage and 20 years of military service still apply to this. In a 20/20/20 situation, commissary benefits, health benefits and other similar points come into the picture. In a 20/20/15 situation, the benefits are limited to health care benefits.

It is also possible that the military will have to divide retirement benefits. This is something that must be ordered by the court, so you should explore this possibility if you are planning on retiring from the service.

Source: The Balance, "Military Divorce and Separation," Rod Powers, accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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