How military servicemembers should respond to a divorce filing

Posted by Zachary A. VanDykeJun 12, 20220 Comments

Military service members have more of an incentive than the average person to get married and have children. Their pay may actually increase as the size of their family does. 

However, getting married and having children will also create new responsibilities and complications for military servicemembers. For example, if they divorce, they will need to take steps that the average civilian will not need to worry about. 

What do military servicemembers need to do when facing divorce? 

They must notify their chain of command

Anyone facing divorce will eventually need to tell their children and other family members about the upcoming changes. Employers will also learn about the situation as the benefits arrangements for the worker or their availability for shifts may change. Military service members will need to notify their chain of command so that any necessary changes to their pay and housing arrangements can occur. 

They must create or update a family care plan

When a service member faces deployment or travel related to their service, they need to have a family care plan in place for the protection of their loved ones. From filling out paperwork that authorizes access for certain individuals to providing benefits and information for family members, the family care plan plays an important role in protecting everyone in the family unit during a deployment or similar situation. 

They need to maintain their composure

Divorce will push you to your emotional limits and make you question how well you know yourself and others. People not coping well with the emotional consequences of divorce may engage in drunk driving or wind up accused of domestic violence because they let their feelings dictate what they do. You will need to be on your best behavior and ensure that you don't make any irrational, emotional decisions that could result in criminal consequences or damage your military career.

Identifying the unique risk factors in military divorces can help you prepare for the upcoming changes in your family.