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Are you considering a “do-it-yourself” military divorce?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Family Law

Divorce is already a complex process, rife with legal and emotional pitfalls. However, for military families in Virginia, divorce comes with its own set of legal and emotional challenges. This blog post aims to provide insight into the legal intricacies of military divorce in our state.

Residency requirements

While the grounds for military divorce mirror civilian ones in Virginia, residency rules differ for active-duty service members. At least one spouse must have been a state resident for 6 months during their current assignment or before deployment.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

If the active-duty military member was not properly served the divorce proceedings, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides protections. This act can delay divorce finalization and prevent default judgments.

Property division

Dividing assets is crucial in divorce. This is especially true concerning the service member’s pension, which is deemed property under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. However, to be divided, the marriage must have lasted a minimum of 10 years, which deviates from normal state property division.

Child custody and support

Deployment complicates child custody arrangements. It can potentially affect visitation and support, which often results in increased financial obligations for the deployed parent. Though, there is a maximum limit of 60% of the service member’s military salary for child support.


Alimony discussions are common in military divorce, particularly if one spouse has not worked due to childcare or frequent relocations. Temporary support may be provided for education and skill-building.


Military divorce in Virginia presents unique hurdles. While this overview covers key aspects, individual situations may require additional considerations. Understanding these complexities is vital for military families contemplating divorce.