Relocation After Divorce When Your Ex-Spouse Is in the Military

Divorce can be a difficult and stressful time. If you have been married to a service member, you may be living far from your extended family and friends. If you're unsure about where to move, the following information can help you think through some of these big decisions.

Relocation benefits for spouses

In general the military services will not cover the cost of moving family members home due to a divorce. However, if you are living outside the continental United States, you may be entitled to a move back to the United States (or your country of origin if you are a foreign national) at government expense. To qualify the service member must request an early return of dependents for his or her command-sponsored family members. For more information visit your installation's Relocation Assistance Program or the Military and Family Support Center. To find contact information for these resources, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.

Issues to consider

After the divorce your first impulse may be to move home. But there may be good reasons to consider staying where you are, at least for a while. Here are some things to think about as you make your decision:


  • Your support system - After a divorce your support system will be even more important. Whether your best support is from friends where you are now or from your family at home, consider these ties as you think about where to live.
  • Your children - If you have children, you'll want to take their needs into consideration. Staying close to their other parent may help ease the effects of the divorce. School-age children may have strong feelings about moving to a new community.
  • Installation services - Your children may be eligible for health care through a military treatment facility and for other installation support services. If you decide to move, visit TRICARE to find more information on health care services in your new area.
  • Your job - Consider staying if you're happily employed where you are now. If employment opportunities are better elsewhere, you may want to think about a move.
  • Your current housing situation - If you live in installation housing, you will be required to move after a divorce. If you live off the installation, consider the rental or mortgage payments.


The cost of moving

Depending on where you live and where you want to move, the cost of moving can be substantial. As you work with your attorney to iron out the details of your divorce, you'll want to take these costs into consideration.


  • Moving your belongings - Hiring a moving company can be expensive but, if you have a lot of belongings or are moving over a long distance, it may be the best option. A do-it-yourself move may help you save money, but you will have to rent a moving truck and move your belongings yourself.
  • Establishing a new home - Setting up house in a new location may require deposits, utility fees, insurance and new furnishings. Factor these costs in when considering your move.
  • Considering cost of living in your new location - You will want to research the cost of living in your new area compared to where you are now. The difference in cost of living could affect rental rates, utilities, food and other everyday items.
  • Potentially losing income - If you will be giving up your job to move, you'll want to consider that loss of income into your budget. You'll also want to think about your job prospects and how long you may be without that income.


After the divorce it's important to give yourself time to think about your options. That way, you'll be sure to make the best decisions for you and your family.


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