Will the Military Move a Spouse After a Divorce?

There are many situations where the military will cover the cost of moving after a divorce. That said, it’s not always guaranteed. 

Will the military pay to move my spouse, will they help with the moving process, how will this impact my current housing, and what if we cannot agree on what to do with the money? These are all valid questions and concerns. 

Understanding military spousal rights is important for both parties and we hope this guide can help clear up some of the confusion. 

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Non-Military Spouse Rights 

The biggest fear for non-military spouses in this situation is getting stranded or left behind with little money and resources. 

This is unlikely to happen when the divorcing party is stationed overseas. The military will pay the moving expenses of the non-military spouse so they can return home from an overseas duty station. 

In terms of the monetary value involved, that will be negotiated and determined based on dependents, time of service, length of marriage, and other factors. 

As for in-state relocations, the military is unlikely to pay for this and will usually fall on the back of the divorcing party. In some situations, the non-military spouse can negotiate this into the overall divorce settlement. 

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act was designed as a way to protect non-military spouses and the law provides certain benefits. 

The non-military former spouse can still receive medical and commissary benefits if they meet a certain criteria and do not get remarried. These are the requirements:

  • The spouse was married for 20 or more years at the time of the divorce
  • The military member has been in service for more than 20 years
  • The former spouse was married to the active duty service member for more than 20 years during service

There are, of course, always exceptions to the rules and anything can happen in a court of law. These are the general guidelines. 

Divorced Military Spouse Relocation

Rights as a Service Member

If you’re the service member in this situation, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is in place to protect you. 

The most prominent way it provides protection is by extending the amount of time needed to respond when served divorce papers. 

In a typical civilian divorce, the spouse who is being served has a certain amount of time to respond. The military will delay this for active-duty service members. 

It’s important to also understand how divorce will impact things like housing, healthcare, and spousal or child support. 

Will the military move your spouse after a divorce or will you have to pay for the costs? 99% of the time the military will move your spouse so you do not have to incur any of those costs. The only time you will have to pay for the move if it’s in-state. 

Legal Help with Divorcing a Military Member

Understanding the in’s and out’s of this process is important. Having a Military Lawyer can help you save time, money, and a lot of headaches. 

The Armed Forces has a Legal Assistance Locator that can help you find the closest military divorce lawyer to assist you. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to have a Lawyer in this situation: 

  1. A lawyer serves as a mediator which can help both parties come to an agreement. It’s faster and more affordable than taking the case to court.
  2. You can have separate legal attorneys to help ensure that both parties reach their desired outcome.
  3. A mediator is especially important when discussing issues involving children, wills, investments, and property. 

If you find yourself on the divorcing end of the situation and you’re choosing to divorce a military member, it’s important that you protect yourself and understand that the military is likely going to look out for the best interests of the service member over yours. 

How Divorce Impacts Military Entitlements 

If you’re the non-military spouse, you need to realize that your benefits as a military member will come to an end once the divorce is finalized. 

Here are some of the military entitlements that may change: 

Housing

You will lose the ability to live in installation housing within 30 days of a service member moving out. If your spouse leaves the installment even before the divorce is finalized, you may still have to move out within that 30 day period. 

Moving Costs 

There is military spouse support during separation but the amount that you receive will vary based on a number of factors which we’ve discussed. The military will usually pay to move you back home if you’re stationed overseas.

If you end up having to handle the move yourself, a DITY move calculator can help you DIY the project while keeping the costs as low as possible.  

Healthcare

TRICARE is the most popular military insurance but you will lose access to this healthcare coverage once the divorce is finalized. There are still options though through the Department of Defense Continued Healthcare Benefit program

Spousal or Child Support 

The branch of the military will have an impact on this because each branch has different rules. That said, every military service member is responsible for paying child support if necessary during a divorce. 

Closing Thoughts 

You should understand that there is assistance available to help service members and their spouses find housing and offset the costs of relocating due to a divorce. 

ARC Relocation offers a rebate of up to $3,000 and they help find real estate agents to help you sell your house fast in the event of an emotionally painful divorce. 

It’s important to take advantage of everything out there and leave no stone unturned when it comes to your money and your life. 

ARC can help you with the relocation process of your divorce if it ends up being your responsibility. Click here to schedule a free consultation today!  

Note: If you are going through a divorce, separation, or custody battle, please seek out qualified legal counsel. The above article does not constitute legal advice and is for reference only.