Divorce is an unfortunate reality. For those serving in the military, the divorce process can be even more challenging due to certain complexities unique to military families. Keep reading for an overview of the process of military divorce.

What Is Military Divorce?

Military divorce refers to the legal process of dissolving a marriage between a military member and their spouse. In the United States, military divorces are governed by both state and federal laws, and they often come with unique complexities that differ from civilian divorces.

Grounds for Military Divorce

Like any other divorce, military divorce also has its own set of grounds for seeking a separation. The difference, however, is that the grounds for a military divorce are somewhat different from those for a civilian divorce. Here are a few:


Infidelity is considered grounds for divorce in all states. If a spouse engages in extramarital affairs, the military court may grant a divorce based on adultery grounds.


In a military divorce, desertion is defined as the willful and unjustified abandonment of the military spouse for at least one year. It can be an actual or constructive desertion. For instance, if a spouse leaves the military spouse behind and does not provide any financial or emotional support for an extended period, it can be classified as desertion.

Domestic Violence

If a military spouse is subjected to physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, they can file for divorce based on the grounds of abuse or domestic violence. The victim’s spouse can seek a protective order, which requires the abuser to stay away from the victim and not contact them in any way.


Military divorce recognizes the grounds of separation, where the military spouses live apart for a significant period. If the couple has been separated for at least 12 months for various reasons, like work assignments or deployment, the military court may grant a divorce based on separation grounds.


Irretrievable breakdown of marriage, or irreconcilable differences, is also a ground for divorce in the U.S. military. Couples can seek divorce if they have significant differences and their marriage has irretrievably broken down. It means the marriage has no hope of reconciliation and is beyond repair.

Child Custody in Military Divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage, one of the most significant concerns that they may have is regarding child custody.

One of the key considerations when it comes to child custody in a military divorce is the frequent moves and deployments that are a common part of military life. In many cases, a service member may be stationed far from their children and may be deployed for long periods of time. This can make it difficult to maintain consistent contact and involvement in their children’s lives, complicating child custody arrangements.

When deciding on child custody in a military divorce, courts will typically consider several factors, including the parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child, their past involvement in the child’s life, and the child’s needs and wishes.

If you are considering a military divorce, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney, such as Robert Angstadt from Tampa Divorce, who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights and interests. Call us today at 813.370.0893 or visit us at 13057 W. Linebaugh Ave., Ste. 102, Tampa, FL 33626.