We know that facing any shift in your family life, such as beginning divorce proceedings, will be a challenging time.  If you or your spouse are serving in the Armed Forces, there will be additional complications due to your service accommodation arrangements, continuation of education allowance, deployment and the division of any military pension.

Military life comes with its own set of demands and commitments making these situations all the more complicated.  Our Armed Forces Family Law department are well-versed in these legal intricacies, with members of the team having either served themselves, they have family members currently serving or have grown up on a military base.  We understand the language involved in military life; a valuable asset while you are coming to terms with the changes you face.

Our Military Family Law team answers your questions here with information and guidance regarding military divorce, including how to understand military pensions, as well as how to address the practicalities, such as communication challenges for deployed military personnel.  Whether you are a service member contemplating divorce or a military spouse seeking clarity and support, we are here to assist you every step of the way.

Armed Forces Family Law Advice in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury and Witney

We are committed to providing comprehensive support and guidance to military service members facing divorce and any other family related matter. Integrity and sensitivity are the key elements of the service we provide, ensuring all cases are resolved as quickly, pragmatically and cost effectively as possible.  Offering family law for the Armed Forces from our offices in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury and Witney, we are available to support those in our local community as well as across the UK.

Legal advice for Armed Forces Divorce

While the application process for military divorces is the same as a civilian divorce, there are specific factors that will require particular legal expertise, particularly around the financial arrangements. Handling military pensions, for example, can be challenging and having the right advice will make all the difference in negotiating the division of that pension.

Arrangements for your future accommodation and property entitlements will also be navigated more efficiently with expert advice as you may not be eligible to continue living in the military-provided housing following the separation.

When divorcing, there will be many decisions to make regarding the division of and arrangements for your assets such as your money, property, spousal maintenance, child maintenance, as well as plans for your children.  These discussions can be tough, particularly in the military environment, as there will be additional considerations that may arise due to your unique lifestyle.  Whether you are the serving member of the military or the non-serving will impact your accommodation if you live in military-owned service accommodation, for example.

Your entitlements will take into account factors such as your earning capacity, your current standard of living as well as your previous responsibilities in the marriage.  Our Armed Forces Family Lawyers can evaluate every aspect and help you either receive the financial support you need moving forward or work with you to protect your assets.

Military Pensions in Divorce

Military pensions differ from other pension schemes and are evaluated based on what is known as a Cash Equivalent Value (CEV). There are three main types of military pension:

  • AFPS75
  • AFPS05
  • AFPS15

Each of these pensions offers different options relating to the pay-out amount, who receives the pay-out and when, with some members having been transferred over to another scheme based on the date they joined.  While a civilian pension is paid in to over the course of employment, a military pension is based on your length of service, how old you were when you joined the Armed Forces and your rank when you draw down your pension.

Armed Forces pensions may include an Early Departure Payment (EDP) for those with specific years of service.

Understanding the pension you or your spouse is entitled to, as well as the CEV calculation, will be a crucial part of your financial negotiations and it is vital you use a legal expert who is familiar with these pension schemes and who comprehends the terminology, lifestyle and complexities of military life.

Handling military pensions requires specialised legal and financial advice, particularly as they are often the largest asset in a military divorce. Relying solely on the value of these pensions when negotiating a financial settlement can lead to unexpected and unfair outcomes.

Military pension benefits can be divided using one of the following three methods:

  • Pension Attachment Order: This method is the least common and may entitle the non-serving spouse to a percentage of the lump sum received and a monthly income, but only when the pension is drawn down which is a decision made by the serving spouse.
  • Pension Sharing Order: This is the most common approach, transferring a percentage of the serving member’s pension to the non-serving spouse after the Final Order (previously known as the Decree Absolute) has been granted. This leaves the non-serving spouse with their own Armed Forces pension and control over when that is drawn down (subject to scheme eligibility).
  • Pension Offsetting: In this approach, the serving spouse retains their entire military pension but transfers a larger share of other assets to the non-serving spouse in exchange, for example, the non-serving spouse will keep the family home.

The choice of pension division depends on your circumstances including, but not limited to your living arrangements, the impact on your future financial security and the length of your marriage.

Armed Forces Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

Once the decision to divorce has been made, you must notify your unit of the separation as soon as possible if you are the serving party in the relationship.  This notification will include a change to your PStat (personal status) category.  As the non-serving person, usually you will be given 93 days’ notice to leave the property, however this can be sooner.

If you are regularly serving overseas or working long hours, we offer telephone appointments at convenient times for you. We can also correspond via email and offer Teams/remote meetings should this be suitable.  If this also impacts your ability to attend Court hearings, should they be necessary, we can work with your deployment dates and discuss these with the Court.

In anticipation of any communication challenges during deployment, you can nominate a trusted individual to provide instructions on your behalf. We will require your authorisation, ensuring you have someone reliable to make decisions in your absence.

Contact our Armed Forces Family Law Solicitors

We are able to assist with divorce and military pensions as discussed here, as well as:

  • Change of Name
  • Children
  • Civil Partnership
  • Cohabitation Agreements & Disputes
  • Collaborative Law
  • Financial Agreements
  • Injunctions
  • International Child Abduction
  • Mediation
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Separation Agreements

Should you have any questions relating to divorce or military pension division, call us today to book your free initial consultation in your local office in Andover, RomseySalisbury or Witney, email moc.n1709417144ellub1709417144rekra1709417144p@ofn1709417144i1709417144 or use the Contact Form.

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Your Armed Forces Family and Relationships Team

"I’d like to say how extremely grateful I am for the sensitive yet thorough and professional service you’ve given me"