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Military Divorce Boot Camp

Family law affects all types of people from all walks of life. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that people in the military occasionally have to deal with the family courts. While the military has some very particularized rules and procedures uniquely it’s own: divorce and allocation of parental responsibility cases remain within the purview of state courts. Because service members (and their spouses) have questions about what to expect, we’ve taken the time to create this article, the “Military Divorce Boot Camp”, that discusses some of the complications that can occur with divorce cases when military service is involved.

Similarities with Civilian Divorces

There are some aspects that make military divorce unique. With that being said, there are also many ways in which a divorce involving a service member is similar to a divorce between civilians. For example, the procedure of a military divorce is largely the same. The matter is initiated with the filing of a petition. After that, the procedure of a military divorce continues to follow a similar pattern to civilian divorces. The parties will have to file sworn financial statements, complete parenting classes, attempt to settle at mediation, and potentially proceed to a contested permanent order hearing. Therefore, from a distance, military divorce and civilian divorce are largely similar.

Our Military Divorce Lawyers Are
Ready To Listen

Our experienced military divorce lawyers have the knowledge, resources, and dedication to prepare your case and protect your interests to find the best possible outcome.

The Actual Differences


One of the prerequisites to seeking the assistance of the court is that the court must have jurisdiction to hear the case. To that end, one of the parties must be domiciled within the state for at least 91 days before filing the petition. For issues involving children, the kiddos usually need to be within the state for 6 months. The primary concern with service members is the question of domicile. A person may have multiple residences, but a person only has 1 domicile at any given time. Loosely, a person’s domicile is where they intend to permanently reside. Therefore, with a military member, the domicile can be a difficult question. For example, just because a service member is stationed in a certain area, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a domiciliary of that area. Therefore, this can be an important question to determine.

Timing vs Deployment

In a civilian divorce, one of the spouses doesn’t generally have the right to delay the case. With military members, however, deployment may provide the service person with the right to put the case on hold. Generally, the service member may ask the court to pause the court process, until their deployment ends or they otherwise return from duty. With that being said, the service member may choose not to invoke this right if they’d rather participate from afar and expedite the process.

Parenting Problems

One of the most difficult aspects of military divorce is the effect it can have on parental responsibilities. Because a service person may change stations multiple times throughout their service and may be deployed overseas, the courts will frequently take this into account when allocating parental responsibilities. Therefore, the court may order that one parent is the primary parent of the children. In this situation, the primary parent will typically exercise parenting time during the majority of the school year. Turning towards the service member, they will tend to have a large concentration of parenting time during summer vacation and other school breaks.

Meet Our Managing Team Of Experienced
Military Divorce Lawyers

divorce lawyer

Nicholas Tootalian
Managing Partner
Denver, CO


Karlee Stoppenhagen
Managing Partner
Fort Collins, CO

divorce lawyer

Craig Valentine
Managing Partner
Colorado Springs, CO

Final Thoughts

This has been the Military Divorce Boot Camp. While there are certainly other differences between military divorce and civilian divorce, we’ve highlighted a few key distinctions. If you’re a member of the military, or if you’re married to a service person, take the time to speak to an attorney knowledgeable in military divorces. Here at Modern Family Law, we provide free consultations with our team of attorneys. Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family law attorneys takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. Our attorneys currently practice in Colorado, California, and Texas. Click the following link to view all of our family law locations. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

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