With MacDill Airforce Base nearby, there are numerous military families living in Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, not all marriages work out, and even military families face such challenges. In this article, we will discuss special considerations that the court needs to make for military divorces.

Who Can File For A Divorce In A Military Family?

In a military family, a family where one or both spouses are active members of the United States Armed Forces, either spouse can file for a divorce. However, it is essential to note that certain factors might take effect in the divorce proceedings. Some issues that arise because of the process of military divorces are:

  • The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Jurisdiction
  • Custodianship of Children
  • Alimony or Child Support

What Is The Servicemember Civil Relief Act?

The Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that shields active duty personnel, while on deployment, from legal issues that may distract them from their job or mission. The SCRA allows military personnel to delay court proceedings. For example, if a military family faces eviction or foreclosure, the court delays proceedings until deployment is over. So the non-military spouse might have the divorced proceedings delayed until the active military spouse finished their deployment.


Military families move around the world, so it is not always clear which jurisdiction their divorce proceedings fall under. Additionally, each state has different laws defining the establishment of residency before allowing a couple to file for a divorce. As a result, one or both spouses need to make sure they are properly availing themselves to the jurisdiction where they are seeking divorce.

Custodianship Of Children

Like divorce, state law governs custodial rights. With military families, this can be difficult to determine when the family is constantly moving around. Even if custody has been determined and visitation rights have been agreed to, it can still be difficult as an active military member can be deployed at a moment’s notice and for months on end. Any child custody decision will need to take into consideration these challenges and properly allow for flexibility.

Alimony Or Child Support

Military personnel pay is calculated differently than other types of pay, and as a result, it can often be a challenge to determine spousal or child support. Add to the fact that state law determines spousal and child support. It can lead to confusion as to the proper amounts to reward. For the active military spouse, this is important because federal law mandates that the military accept the court orders of the state court concerning spousal support and/or child support. Furthermore, suppose an active military member does not properly fulfill their obligations of supporting their former spouse or child support. In that case, they can face military discipline, which may lead to a court-martial or dishonorable discharge.

Contact Thompson Law Firm

Divorce cases are very emotional cases and can be very complex, especially if one or both spouses are active military personnel. If you are a military spouse and are considering divorce, contact the professionals at Thompson Law Firm to review your rights and the divorce process.