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Serving your country in the military is an admirable thing to do. Unfortunately, this decision isn’t always one that is easy on the family. Your spouse might get tired of the military life and decide that it is time to end the marriage. If you are a service member going through this situation, you need to make sure that you know your rights.

One of the first things that you should do is pay attention to where you file. You have the option of filing where you are stationed if you meet the residency requirements. You might also be able to file where you have your permanent address. Pay attention to the specifics that apply to your case because the terms of the divorce might vary greatly based on which jurisdiction you file in.

You should know that the length of your marriage has an impact on your divorce. The longer the marriage, the more likely that your spouse is going to be able to get alimony or even part of your retirement. There is also a chance that the 20/20/20 rule will apply, which would entitle your ex to certain military benefits like TRICARE.

Military service might also impact child custody, but it isn’t assumed that a military parent can’t get custody of a child. Instead, you would have to file a family care plan with your commanding officer if you will have custody of your children.

Ultimately, protecting your interests is necessary in these divorces. Find out what options you have and make decisions based on the information you have.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Divorce,” accessed July 28, 2017