Military Divorce: What You Need to Know

Divorces are never a walk in the park, but when it comes to military divorces, the challenges can be particularly thorny. The unique demands of this life – from deployments to frequent relocations – can make splitting up even more complicated, especially regarding the custody of the children.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Military divorces also involve important considerations around pensions, insurance benefits, and jurisdiction. If you’re considering divorcing your spouse, here are the things you should keep in mind.

Filing for divorce

Military spouses can file for divorce in one of three areas. This can be either one of their residences or also their station places. When choosing the area to do it, bear in mind that the laws of where you file will govern everything from child custody to property division.

Let’s say you decide to file for divorce in Ontario. This means Ontario laws will determine who gets what in the settlement. It’s a tricky situation, and unless you do your research first, you can get a not-so-pleasant surprise in terms of what you can and cannot do.

Who do you have to inform once you make the decision?

Once you’ve decided to go different ways, you must start by sending copies of your separation agreement or divorce decree to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. To make sure your loved ones are taken care of in the future, take a moment to review and update your beneficiary designation under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan.

While filling out all the paperwork, don’t forget to include your Service Number (SN) or Pension Number on all documents you send in. This way, the Pension Centre can quickly process your information and get you one step closer to your retirement goals.

Child custody

Divorce, of course, is never a pleasant experience, and for many couples, the most difficult part is deciding who gets custody of their children. This is especially true for military families, who face unique challenges due to their service to the country. With long periods of absence from their child’s life, it can be a real struggle for military parents to obtain joint or shared custody.

In some cases, both spouses are in the military, which adds another layer of complexity as they must carefully plan for their deployments while accounting for their children’s needs. It’s a tough road, but with proper planning and support, military families can navigate the challenges of divorce and emerge stronger on the other side.

Getting your pension divided

The first step you should take to get your pension divided is to estimate the value. You must complete a Request for Pension Benefits Division Information form (CF-FC 2488). Once you’ve done that, send it to the Government of Canada Pension Centre and await their response. The Pension Centre will conjure up a PBDA Pension Benefits Report, revealing the estimated amount you and your ex will be entitled to.

For the process to happen, you must be legally divorced or separated for at least a year. Also – a Canadian court order must be issued to confirm the division of your pension.

End notes

According to statistics, in Canada, around 5% of military people get divorced or separated. While we all dream of happily ever after, the reality is that it may not always happen. When dealing with military divorce, it is important to seek out professional help. There are so many steps to go through, and that’s why getting a lawyer’s support can be incredibly beneficial for your own ease of mind.

If you’re going through a military divorce, our team would love to help you! Reach out to us here.