Military Divorce: What Happens to Children, Pay and Pensions?

Dividing Children, Pay and Pensions in a Military Divorce

Military Divorce: What Happens to Children, Pay and Pensions?In any type of divorce proceeding, the three principal concerns are:

  • Custody and visitation
  • Support
  • Division of debt and property

In a military divorce, it’s essentially the same, but there are factors that make the process distinctly different from a civilian divorce.

Custody and Visitation

Custody and visitation can be a challenge in military divorce because of the requirement that military personnel be subject to relocation on a regular basis. In a divorce, parties have to take potential relocation into account. In addition, service personnel may invoke the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to delay custody hearings or determinations until they can be present.

Because military personnel are subject to short and long-term deployment, the military has developed rules that require a Family Care Plan if a single parent with custody is a service member, or if both parents are service members. The Family Care Plan must identify who will have custody of the children if the active duty soldier is deployed elsewhere. It must also provide up-to-date contact information for designated caregivers.


Determining support obligations in a military divorce can be tricky, as servicemembers often receive pay from a variety of sources, including:

  • Base pay
  • Housing allowances
  • Hazardous duty pay
  • In-kind compensation, such as food and housing

The Division of Debts and Assets

Perhaps the most critical asset to be divided in a military divorce is the interest in a military pension. Specific rules apply, including a requirement that the civilian spouse be married to the servicemember for a minimum period of time, and that the marriage coincide to some degree with the term of service. As a general rule, a qualified civilian spouse may elect to take a lump sum distribution at the time of the divorce, or may let the retirement accrue and elect to receive retirement benefits when the servicemember is permanently discharged.

Contact the Law Office of Len Conner & Associates

At the Law Office of Len Conner Associates, we offer a free initial consultation in all family law matters, including issues relating to divorce. Send us an e-mail or call our office at (972) 445-1500 or 972-445-1500 if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Or call us toll free at (877) 613-5800 for an appointment.

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Len Conner & Associates

600 John Carpenter Freeway,
Ste 238
Irving, Texas 75062


Phone: 972-445-1500

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