Divorce essentially means that someone’s marriage failed, which can be very embarrassing for people to admit. They worry about others judging or pitying them. Some individuals choose not to tell their co-workers or social contacts until the completion of the divorce.
Not everyone has that option. Those in the military might hope to work out their issues with their spouse and remain married. They may also worry about the social judgment that could come from divorce proceedings. Although they may want to keep things quiet, they likely cannot hide the divorce entirely.
Does an enlisted individual need to notify their chain of command about an upcoming divorce?
Yes, the chain of command needs to know
While those working in the private sector often get to choose for themselves when they disclose their divorce proceedings, that isn’t necessarily a realistic approach for someone in the military. Anyone at risk of deployment may need to update their family care plan once they know that divorce is imminent. There can also be benefits implications related to health insurance and housing. Therefore, it is usually incumbent upon military servicemembers to keep their chain of command informed about changes to their marital status.
The good news is that basic divorce proceedings should have very little impact on someone’s military career. In some cases, disclosure of an impending divorce might even help someone better navigate the process by helping them connect with others who have also gone through a divorce while serving in the military.
Recognizing the small differences that set military divorces apart from civilian divorces, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may benefit those worried about their marriage while serving in the military.