1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Firm News
  4.  | Navigating Military Divorce: Handling Issues When One Spouse is Overseas

Navigating Military Divorce: Handling Issues When One Spouse is Overseas

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Firm News

Military service brings unique challenges, not only to those in uniform but also to their families. Among the complexities that military families face, divorce can be particularly daunting, especially when one spouse is deployed overseas. In such cases, understanding the legal nuances and navigating the process effectively becomes crucial for both parties involved. Here, we delve into the key issues and considerations surrounding military divorce when one spouse is stationed abroad.

Understanding Jurisdiction and Service of Process

One of the primary concerns in a military divorce involving an overseas spouse is jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Typically, jurisdiction in divorce matters is determined based on residency requirements. However, when one spouse is deployed overseas, determining the appropriate jurisdiction can become challenging.

In cases where the deployed spouse is a legal resident of the state in which the divorce is filed, that state’s courts may have jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. However, if the deployed spouse’s legal residency is in another state, special considerations may apply.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides legal protections to active-duty military personnel facing civil legal matters, including divorce. Under the SCRA, military members have the right to request a stay, or postponement, of civil proceedings, including divorce, if their military service materially affects their ability to participate in the proceedings.

When one spouse is deployed overseas, the SCRA may come into play, allowing for a temporary halt or delay in the divorce process to ensure that the deployed spouse has adequate time and opportunity to respond and participate in the proceedings.

Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements

Child custody and visitation arrangements can be particularly complex in military divorces involving overseas deployment. The unpredictable nature of military service, including frequent relocations and deployments, adds an extra layer of difficulty to determining what’s in the best interests of the child.

Courts aim to prioritize the well-being of the child when making custody and visitation decisions. Factors such as the stability of each parent’s home environment, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs are carefully considered.

Division of Military Benefits and Assets

In a military divorce, the division of military benefits and assets can be a significant point of contention. Military benefits, including pensions, healthcare coverage, and housing allowances, are subject to division during divorce proceedings. However, navigating the complex rules and regulations governing military benefits requires careful attention to detail and expertise in military family law.

Seeking Legal Guidance and Support

Given the intricacies involved in military divorce, particularly when one spouse is overseas, seeking the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney is essential. A knowledgeable attorney can help navigate the legal process, protect your rights and interests, and ensure that your voice is heard throughout the proceedings.


Military divorce presents unique challenges, especially when one spouse is deployed overseas. From jurisdictional issues to child custody arrangements and the division of military benefits, there are various factors to consider and navigate. By understanding the legal nuances and seeking the guidance of a skilled divorce attorney experienced in military family law, military families can effectively navigate the complexities of divorce and move forward with confidence.