Author: NFF

NHS Dentists

It can be difficult for serving families to access NHS dentistry in some areas. Here are links to help you to locate a dentist in your area:


If you find that you are encountering problems gaining access to an NHS dentist, or continuing with a course of treatment, such as orthodontic care, when you are assigned and these problems are directly attributable to you being part of a serving Armed Forces family, please contact us via or call 023 9265 4374.


The Community Dental Services provide treatment for people who may not otherwise seek or receive dental care, such as people with learning disabilities, housebound people, and people with mental or physical health problems or other disabling conditions which prevent them from visiting a family dentist.


For information on NHS dental charges or other issues relating to dental care, you can visit the British Health Foundation. Their free and impartial advice centre is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.


NHS Orthodontic Transfer Information
Armed Forces entitlement

The Armed Forces Covenant is a “promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly”. Due to the transient nature of their role, the Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list if moved around the UK due to the Service Personnel being assigned.


General Information

The following sections are for use when patients request an orthodontic case transfer either within the UK or from abroad. It is recognised that patients receive the best treatment outcome by completing their treatment under the care of one orthodontist. NHS Orthodontic treatment can take between 18 months to over 2 years. The average length of time of treatment is 21 months.

Orthodontists with existing NHS contracts in England can accept a patient who has moved from another part of the country (or from overseas) who is already waiting for or undergoing NHS orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontists operate two waiting lists; one for assessment and one for treatment. The assessment appointment will determine NHS eligibility e.g. whether a patient can be treated under the NHS and prioritise clinical need.


Transfers within the UK

Q: What if I am on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: If a patient moves and needs to change orthodontists, the current orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider. As Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on the waiting list, the referring orthodontist should provide the date of the patient’s acceptance on their list to the new provider to ensure their relative position is retained.


Q: What if I am receiving orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: A patient should remain with their current orthodontist, if at all possible. If the patient requests a transfer, the treating orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider to continue treatment.


Transfers from Abroad

Where a patient begins treatment abroad (not just EEA) and returns to the UK and is entitled to NHS care, NHS criteria is applicable and not the criteria from the country where they began treatment.  The patient should have been under 18 at the point of referral, have had an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health. Patients can find information on who currently provides dental and orthodontic treatment on the NHS Choices website. Patients can enter their postcode and the treatment they require, and a list of practices will be displayed.

Patients should contact their preferred dental practice to arrange an initial appointment and discuss a referral to an orthodontist if appropriate. Alternatively, your GDP may refer you to an orthodontist for their clinical opinion.


Q: I have moved to the UK and have been on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment abroad. Can I access treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Upon referral, if the orthodontist deems that the patient meets NHS criteria, the orthodontist will agree the appropriate waiting time based on clinical need and the need to retain the patient’s relative position on the waiting list. In order for the patient’s relative position to be retained, it would be useful for the patient to provide evidence of how long they have been waiting for treatment (e.g. date of patient acceptance on overseas waiting list).


Q: I have moved to the UK and have been receiving orthodontic treatment. How can I continue my treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Patients should arrange for their original patient records including study models, radiographs, photographs and notes to be provided so that an NHS orthodontist can confirm whether they would have met  NHS criteria on their original assessment date (i.e. that they were under 18, an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health).

If the orthodontist feels that the NHS criteria would have been met, a course of treatment within the NHS can continue to be provided; If the orthodontist does not feel that the NHS criteria would have been met, or original patient records are not provided, a course of NHS treatment will not be provided.


Further information

If you have any further queries concerning orthodontic transfers, the Customer Contact Centre is the point of contact for patients and their representatives wanting information about accessing primary care (GP, dental, optical and pharmacy services). Any queries can be directed to NHS England’s Customer Care Centre, as follows:

Telephone: 0300 311 22 33


Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 11th September, 2019

Royal Navy

Physical and mental fitness are at the heart of Royal Navy life, and NAVYfit is here to help you stay at the top of your game. Explore the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle, discover sporting opportunities, and find out how you can push yourself even further with Adventurous Training; all in one place. More information can be found here.

Staying healthy

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. If you’re in the Service or your other half is, remember you can use the Royal Navy’s sports facilities, free of charge. To find out what’s on offer near you, please visit here.

Starting an exercise programme

The NHS has a great total beginners’ running programme with free podcast and app, plus advice for new runners. NHS Couch to 5K.

Local authorities

As part of their commitment to their local Armed Forces Covenant, many local authorities have chosen to offer discounts to Serving personnel, and their families in some areas, so that they can access fitness centres whilst they are at home and away from their unit fitness facilities. Search your local authority website for more information here.


For sensible and straight-talking advice on starting weight-training, visit here. This site contains some colourful language.

Change 4 Life

This NHS website that has loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you and your family to be healthier and happier. Visit their website here.

Change 4 Life – Wales

Would you or your family like to be healthier and happier? Would you like loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you do this?

Then join the thousands of other people in Wales and sign up today.

British Cycling and HSBC UK

British Cycling and HSBC UK are working in partnership to encourage people of all ages to get on their bikes and discover the delights and health benefits of cycling. More information about the range of programmes they are offering can be found here.

Eat Better Feel Better

This is a Scottish website that shows ways you can make changes to how you shop, cook and eat, to help you and your family eat better and feel better. It includes tips for fussy eaters, cook along videos, and recipes that you can save to your own account. Please visit here.

Get a Life, Get Active

This a Northern Irish website which has resources to help you incorporate enough activity into everyday life for better health. Please visit here.

Train Like a Jedi

This Star Wars themed programme aims to encourage children to get more active. It features a video staring Jade Jones, British taekwondo athlete and double Olympic gold medalist, to teach children 12 Jedi moves that can increase heart rate, improve physical skills, develop confidence, and emotional resilience. Please access this programme here.

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 4th April, 2022

Before choosing any kind of insurance, you may want to seek advice from your unit administrative staff, and also check the Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP).


SIIAP is a panel that is recognised by the Ministry of Defence. It is made up of individuals and firms who are insurance and independent financial advisers specialising in providing services to members of HM Forces.


All Member Firms must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, offer compensation rights to customers and adhere to the SIIAP Code of Practice.


Finding the right insurance company

SIIAP’s members directory can help you find an insurance company according to your location and/or the type of insurance required.


Posted on: 29th April, 2016
Updated on: 18th March, 2019

The Ministry of Defence works closely with three credit unions under the banner of Joining Forces and has facilitated direct salary sacrifice via JPA to encourage saving and to make loan repayment simpler. The Department also provides up to date information in respect of pay, pensions and allowances to MoneyForce – the Royal British Legion’s money advice service. Money Force is a joint venture between the Royal British Legion, MOD and the Government’s The Money Advice Service.


Both Joining Forces and MoneyForce are proactively providing impartial financial advice through visits to units and bases across the country and most importantly strive to offer the most appropriate product to Service personnel. Credit Unions are not there to make a profit and have a proven track record of ethical lending and better in many instances levels of interest for savings.


Because credit unions are not-for-profit, the annual percentage rate (APR) is much lower than banks or payday loan lenders. Typical APR for a credit union is around 12 per cent, whereas for a payday loan it can be up to 1,500 per cent.


Service personnel who have taken out a payday loan or are considering doing so can seek advice from any of the Joining Forces credit unions, all of whom have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, or via Money Force.


The three service providers are:


Posted on: 12th February, 2019
Updated on: 26th June, 2019

There are lots of offers available to Armed Forces personnel and their families:


Defence Discount Service

Here you can find discount vouchers for a wide variety of high street shops and restaurants for Serving personnel and their families.


Forces Discount

Exclusive Military discounts on a range of days outs, cars and stores.


Tickets Troops

Free tickets for members of the Armed Forces for a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events.


Forces Cars Direct

The largest online company specialising in tax free military sales, and special discounts on cars for those serving or have served in the Armed Forces.


Rewards for Forces

1,000s of National and local discounts for Serving members of the Military and their families.


Posted on: 29th April, 2016

If you’re looking for free and impartial advice, the Monday Advice Service is government-run and can help you improve your finances, using tools and calculators to keep track and plan ahead, they also provide support over the phone and in person.


The Military Foundation is run by Forces Financial and can provide confidential, free financial advice and debt counselling.


MoneyForce can offer advice on borrowing, saving, budgeting and planning. The also offer assistance on pay and allowances specific to the Armed Forces, managing crises and debt to war pensions and compensation.


Posted on: 29th April, 2016

It’s important to make a Will and keep it up-to-date, to ensure that your money and possessions are allocated according to your wishes. Failure to leave a Will can mean that family and friends have to make difficult decisions on your behalf when they are unsure of your wishes.

Click here, for an overview to how to go about writing a Will and how to ensure it is legal.


Free Will Month

Will Aid is a UK wide scheme which runs every November to offer free wills to people of any age. Will Aid teams up with over 1,000 solicitors to provide basic wills, you can visit their website to find out more here.


Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby one person gives another person/persons the power to act on his or her behalf with regard to his/her health or financial decisions. Have you appointed a Power of Attorney?


Exemption from Inheritance Tax for Fallen Personnel

There is an unlimited exemption from inheritance tax for members of the Armed Forces, and former members, where active service was a contributory factor in their death, whenever it occurred. If you’d like to find out more please see section 154 of the Inheritance Tax Act which is referred to by the MOD and HMRC. To find out more information, please contact the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) on 01452 519 951.


RNRMC ‘Make a Will’

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and Forces Law have partnered up to waive fees for writing basic Wills in return for a donation to RNRMC. The suggested minimum donation is £100 for a single Will and £150 for a Mirror Will. This programme will run from July 2018 to July 2019.

Please visit this site for further information.


Free Will Writing Service 

The Royal British Legion (RBL) is a member of The National Free Wills Network. One of their missions is to help Service personnel to have their Will written, or updated. There is no obligation to donate for this service, but a gift to RBL being included in the Will is always appreciated. Please find their contact details and to sign up for the service here.

Posted on: 29th April, 2016
Last updated on: 18th September, 2018



There are currently three Armed Forces Pension Schemes for members of the Armed Forces:


1. AFPS 75 (Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975)

This scheme was introduced in 1975 and closed to new entrants on 5 April 2005.


2. AFPS 05 (Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005)

This scheme was opened on 06 April 2005. From that date those joining the Regular Armed Forces were eligible to become members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005. Members of AFPS 75 were given the opportunity to transfer to the new scheme (this offer is now expired).


3. RFPS (Reserves Forces Pension Scheme)

Also introduced on 06 April 2005 for those joining Full Time Reserve Service was RFPS eligible for membership of the Reserve Forces Pension Scheme. Members of AFPS 75-FTRS (Full Time Reserve Scheme) were given the opportunity to transfer to RFPS from this date.


4. AFPS 15 (Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015)

The new Armed Forces Pension Scheme was introduced on 1 April 2015. All service personnel who are members of an Armed Forces Pension Scheme and who will be serving beyond April 2015 will be automatically transferred to AFPS 15, unless they qualify for transitional protection.


Forces Pension Society

Forces Pension Society can help you through the understanding your pension and campaign against injustices in the system as they did when winning the right of all widows to retain their pension on remarriage. They also sit on the MOD Pensions Board and on the Public Sector Pensioners Council representing Armed Forces personnel’s interests.


Armed Forces Pension Calculator

The Pension & Annual Allowance Calculator provides a guide to the pension benefits you could expect to receive under Armed Forces Pension Schemes. Also see this step by step guide on how to use the calculator.


AFPS McCloud Judgment

The Independent Public Service Pensions Commission Final Report on 10 Mar 11 recommended changes to all Public Service Pension Schemes. The Government accepted the recommendations of the report and the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 was the legislation which introduced new pension schemes in April 2015, including the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015 (AFPS 15). Transitional Protection was given to all those who were within 10 years of their scheme’s Normal Pension Age on 1 Apr 12. For the Armed Forces this meant that Regular Service personnel who were aged 45 or over on 1 Apr 12 and Reserve personnel who were aged 50 or over on 1 Apr 12 could remain in their legacy pension scheme rather than transfer to the new scheme.

Members of the Judges’ and Firefighters’ pension schemes have since taken legal action claiming that the Transitional Protection arrangements that were applied to their scheme gave rise to unlawful discrimination. The Court of Appeal upheld their claim and the Supreme Court subsequently refused the Government permission to appeal the judgment.

The Government will remedy this unlawful element within the AFPS – exactly how is yet to be determined, however, Service Personnel will not see any reduction to the pensions they have earned/built up to date, irrespective of the pension scheme they are in. Click here to read the full Government statement. Click here to read an update on this judgement. 


In order to implement the prospective remedy for McCloud, details of which are outlined below, the MOD are undertaking a public consultation which details the changes that will be made to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme regulations and the effect on members. The consultation will explain the impact of the draft regulations, including the closing of the legacy pension schemes to further accrual from 31 March 2022, and the updating of transitional provisions to include those who previously did not move to AFPS 15. In addition, the regulations will make some retrospective changes to transitional provisions introduced in 2015 to remove age discrimination. The consultation will apply to the Regular and Reserve UK Armed Forces personnel who will continue in service on 1 April 2022 as members of the AFPS 15.


The consultation period is expected to run for 8 weeks, between mid-November 2021 to mid-January 2022 and views are encouraged from Serving Personnel and Veterans. More details on the exact dates of the consultation period, including how to respond, will be published soon.

Homeport Articles

Homeport, the NFF’s magazine for serving Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, has produced the below articles to help you understand more about all things pensions:

AFP app informational poster
Introducing the Armed Forces Pension App - Homeport Winter '17 (p.58)
AFPS informational poster
AFPS15/ Forces Pension Society - Homeport Summer '18 (p.6-7)
Pensions informational poster
Interview with Forces Pension Society - Homeport Winter '18 (p.48-49)
Thinking about the unthinkable informational poster
Thinking About the Unthinkable - Homeport Spring '19 (p.40-41)
FAR informational poster.
Financial Aspects of Resettlement (FAR) briefing - Homeport Summer '19 (p.46-47)
Pension sharing informational poster.
Pension Sharing - Homeport Autumn '19 (p.50-51)
McCloud Judgement informational poster
Impact of the McCloud judgement on Armed Forces Pension Schemes - Homeport Winter '19 (p.60)
Avoiding confusion with Pensions poster
Transfer to AFPS 15 - Homeport Spring '20 (p.60-61)
Posted on: 28th April, 2016
Updated on: 29th October, 2021

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General information


There are times when relationships just don’t last, even if we try to make them work. Marriages and relationships can end in separation or divorce, and couples sometimes need to go in different directions.


It’s important that your break-up goes as smoothly as possible to minimise the impact this has on you both and your children, if you have them. Even if children aren’t involved, a break-up can impact all areas of your life.


There is a lot of information out there that is available to you and it can be hard not to be overwhelmed by it all. The key things to take from this resource are:
  1. You are not alone and there are lots of organisations that are there to help you through your entire journey of separating.
  2. Get as much information as you can but don’t try to solve everything on Day One.
  3. Start by getting some initial advice from a specialist solicitor, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or a service organisation that would offer general support. Initial advice from a solicitor is often free (but always check) and will not commit you to anything.
  4. Be prepared for change.


Everyone’s situation is different and what is right for someone else may not be right for you. Where you live in the United Kingdom may also mean a different policy, or where you are domiciled will determine what law applies. The laws of England and Wales are different to the laws of Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Currently, one spouse has to make accusations about the other’s conduct, such as ‘unreasonable behaviour’ or adultery, or otherwise face years of separation before a divorce can be granted – regardless of whether a couple has made a mutual decision to separate. The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill represents the biggest shake-up of divorce laws in half a century and aims to reduce the impact that allegations of blame can have on a couple and in particular children. More information on this and what it means can be found here.


There are a myriad of things that you may need to consider that are specific to your circumstances. Just some of these are:
  • What type of separation is needed: Do you just need breathing space to consider your relationship, or have you already decided on a formal separation or divorce?
  • Living Arrangements: Where will you live after you separate, and who will any children live with?
  • Emotional: Dealing with feelings – yours and your children’s. How and when to tell your children and other people?
  • Financial / Legal: Who gets what – pension, savings, house equity, joint account access, child / spousal maintenance, changing a will, life insurance or death benefits.

Paying bills and rent– can you afford it? Benefits, such as housing benefit, Universal Credit or council tax support. HMRC if you already receive or want to claim Tax Credits. Child Benefit, local authority for council tax discount, and you may need to find a job to help with your finances.

It is important to seek legal and financial advice in matters regarding property, finances and Armed Forces pensions.

  • Co-Parenting: Joint custody, access and visitation for parents and other family members such as grandparents.


Taking those first steps to separation or divorce can be scary and difficult. The FAQs at the bottom of this page provide a quick look at some of the questions which you may need answers to and we have provided more detailed information for those needing guidance and support during the transition.

Domestic Abuse and Divorce

If you feel scared, frightened or are not able to make independent decisions, this may be domestic abuse. It can happen to women and men and the law applies equally to both. Please visit our dedicated page for further information. In an emergency call 999.

There is support out there for you – your first priority should be the safety of yourself and any children (including non-biological and stepchildren). In many cases this may mean engaging with the police and getting the protection of the legal system. Seek legal advice; the idea of going to court to get an injunction to stop your abuser contacting you or forcing you to leave the house is a terrifying thought for most people experiencing domestic abuse, but a solicitor will be able to advise you on this, and reassure you that the threats you may have heard from your partner are untrue (such as ‘if you leave, you lose your rights to the house’ or ‘You can go, but you can’t take the kids with you’ or ‘If you make me leave I won’t pay the mortgage’). 

Please get in touch with any of the domestic abuse support services that are available. Our relationships page includes a section on domestic abuse that you may find helpful.

If you are fleeing domestic violence you must be given some priority or ‘reasonable preference’ to council / social housing allocation. You can ask any council for homelessness help if you’re at risk in your home or can’t stay there because of domestic abuse. The council must look at what they can do to either keep you safe in your home or find you somewhere safe to live.


If you are living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) and you and your partner are experiencing difficulties, there is an opportunity for you to have what’s called a ‘cooling-off’ period. This involves the Serving Person moving into Single Living Accommodation (SLA) for a maximum of 93 days, which Amey and the UPO must be informed of. After this period of time, if issues still have not been resolved between you and your partner and you agree to separate, then you are required to find suitable alternative civilian accommodation within a time-frame of 93 days. The Serving Person can apply for Single Living Accommodation during this time.

Further information and full details on entitlement and eligibility for UK SFA and Substitute Service Family Accommodation (SSFA) are available in JSP 464: tri-service accommodation regulations (TSARs) Part 1 and for overseas SFA and SSFA are available in JSP464: tri-service accommodation regulations (TSARs) Part 2.

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) has produced a library of leaflets for Service personnel and their dependants on civilian housing options.

If you have to find alternative accommodation and cannot afford to buy your own home, you may need to contact your local authority to assist you in finding somewhere to live. Please visit the Government website section on Housing Association homes for further information. In addition your local authority will be able to give you guidance on whether you are eligible for financial help towards your accommodation (such as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit).

For homeowners, who gets the family home depends on your circumstances. There are a number of options available to you. Remember though, if you are joint mortgage holders, you are both still liable for paying it and moving out doesn’t mean you can stop paying it. Some further information on this subject can be found here.

Every year Shelter and Shelter Scotland offers advice, support and legal services to millions of people struggling with bad housing or homelessness. If, through your separation or divorce you are struggling with housing, visit their website to see if they can help you.

Expenses and Allowances

Should your personal circumstances change then it is likely that the expenses and allowances the Serving Person is in receipt of will also change. Further guidance can be found here.

Support for Emotions & Well-being

Coping with a break up can be extremely challenging on an emotional level. Each member of the family may go through a range of emotions and could need different support from a variety of directions. If you think your relationship /marriage can be saved, or are not sure and want to explore this with support, you might consider relationship counselling, your children may also need help with their feelings or you may want to consider mediation. There are multiple organisations available that provide help and guidance in all of these areas.


  • Building Stronger FamiliesThe Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and relationship support charity Relate have launched a free relationship counselling portal for Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their partners.Both serving and former Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their partners can sign up to the service for free, where they will then have access to seven different modules. The courses are intended to support relationships, with topics ranging from Military Life, Sexual Communication and Intimacy, to Family Life and Parenting. Sign up here.


  • Relate provide a great deal of advice and support for all aspects of a couple’s relationship. It offers Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families’ FREE access to some counselling services. To find out more please visit Relate’s website. Support for Service children can be found here.


  • Mediation: This is not the same as relationship counselling, mediation is normally considered after you’ve agreed to part ways. If you’ve just split-up, are getting a divorce, dissolving a civil partnership or you’ve been separated for a while, you might need to sort out arrangements with your ex or other family members.

It is now a requirement under the Children and Families Act 2014, for a person to attend an initial Family Meditation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before making certain kinds of applications to obtain a court order.

The first meeting with a mediator gives you the chance to find out how mediation works. Mediators are trained to work out with you whether mediation is right for you and your family. They will also discuss how many sessions you may need, how much they would cost and explain whether you might get legal aid to pay for mediation. The mediator can also give you information about other services that provide help and support and the other options you might have to resolve things.

Find a mediator local to you here.


  • Citizens Advice can give you the confidence and knowledge needed to find a way forward. They can assist with a wide range of problems or enquiries and their section on Family can help you find out what your rights are if your relationship has broken down. For more information please visit Citizens Advice.

*Please ensure that you choose the correct part of the UK that you are living in (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales) as the guidance may change.


  • Home-Start helps Armed Forces families with young children, particularly at times of heightened anxieties, in the UK and Cyprus. There are hundreds of reasons why families find life difficult. To find out more, click here.


  • Family Lives is a charity with over three decades of experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life. Their website covers all aspects of this and has a page dedicated to divorce and separation, and they offer core family support. They are one of the first organisations to be awarded a new HSSF quality mark for their work in supporting separated families. Follow this link for more information.


  • Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. If you have children and they are struggling with your separation or divorce and need support, please visit Young Minds. They also have help and advice for you as parents.


  • SSAFA offer assistance with a variety of problems. SSAFA helps the Armed Forces community in a number of ways, though their focus is on providing direct support to individuals in need of physical or emotional care. Addiction, relationship breakdown, debt, homelessness, post-traumatic stress, depression and disability are all issues that can affect our members of our Armed Forces community.


  • Child Access and Visitation arrangements can be made between you and your partner without the need for court hearings or involving professionals if you can agree on where your children will live, how much time is spent with each parent and how your children will be financially supported. More guidance on this subject can be found here. However what you can do is different if you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

You can use a solicitor if you want your arrangement to be legally binding, you can make a parenting plan or use a mediator. The Scottish Government have launched a really useful booklet full of information and strategies for families where the parents are divorced, separated, living apart etc. The booklet can also be useful if there are children living with different parents and visiting. For example, in the case of children from a previous relationship, step-children etc. You can find the booklet here. And in addition to Citizens Advice or Advice Now, you can get some really good help from the Cafcass Co-Parent Hub.


  • Our Family Wizard is an app specifically designed to reduce the stress of managing family plans across separate households. It is a chargeable service, but does offer military discounts on subscriptions. Click here for more information.


Legal help and advice

There are a number of situations as we go through life that require legal assistance. Separating or divorcing from a spouse or partner is one of those situations and you should really look for a specialist family solicitor. A lot offer an initial meeting or chat free of charge (please check) which can last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, and will not commit you to anything.


  • Legal Aid can help meet the cost of legal advice, family mediation, or representation at court or tribunals. For more information or to see if you are eligible please visit the Legal Aid website. Please note that Legal Aid rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


If you or your children are victims of domestic abuse or violence and you cannot afford to pay legal costs, then you may be able to get free and confidential civil legal advice as a part of legal aid if you are in England or Wales.


  • Citizens Advice can give you the confidence and knowledge needed to find a way forward. They can assist with a wide range of problems or enquiries and their website has a section on free or affordable legal help. For more information please visit the Citizens Advice website.

* Please ensure that you choose the section of the UK that you are living in (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales) as the guidance may change.


  • Resolution is an organisation that can also assist you in navigating your way to the right legal advice for your situation. They have helpful sections and lots of guides on separating for married couples, cohabitees and issues around children on their website, which you can visit by following this link.


  • The Law Society or The Law Society of Scotland can help you to find a solicitor local to you. In addition, the website has a section on common legal issues.


  • Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to members of the public across a range of different legal areas. They help those who are unable to access legal advice as part of their effort to bridge the gap in access to justice. Advice is delivered by QMLAC Student Advisers under the supervision of qualified lawyers. A member of QMLAC will contact you within three working days to get a few more case details, to establish whether your legal issue is something student advisers are able to assist with. You will also be asked for your household income to determine whether you meet the income threshold to receive free legal advice.If they are able to help, a virtual appointment will be offered to the you. Following that appointment, you will receive your advice letter 14 days later. Please note the clinics run on an academic term time basis only.  Appointments will start from October to April only. Follow this link to find out more.


It provides accurate, practical information on rights and the law in England and Wales and gives you access to clear and effective guidance to help deal with law-related issues. To find out more click here.


  • The Child Law Advice Service provides legal advice and information on family, child and education law affecting children and families in England. This service is provided via this link and is packed with how to guides and information pages. In addition they have a website called Law Stuff dedicated to providing advice and assistance to young people.


  • Armed Forces Legal Action was established in 2013 and is a nationwide network of legal service providers committed to providing discounted legal services to Armed Forces personnel and their families. More information can be accessed on the website.


  • Discounted Legal Services are available and there are a number of websites through which this is offered. Two examples are: Defence Discount Service is the official MOD Discount Service and British Forces Discount, both of which you need to register to and may need to prove eligibility.
Financial Advice

Money has a big role in our everyday lives and so getting the right advice at the right time can make a big difference. From having money to pay the rent or mortgage, to shopping and bills or supporting your children, finances play a part.


  • MoneyForce Whilst the MoneyForce website is now closed, financial support and advice is still available from The Royal British Legion. The Legion’s expert team of Financial Advisors are on hand to offer you guidance and support. Whether its worries about debts and paying bills or advice on benefits, pensions or planning for your future, they’re here to help. If you’re worried about your finances you can find out how the Royal British Legion can help by visiting their website or call them on 0808 802 8080 8am-8pm 7 days a week.

The MoneyForce popular tools and calculators are still available from Money Advice Service and this website also provides some really helpful information under the heading Family and Care and in the Family Matters section, including the cost of divorce or dissolution if this is something you need to consider before proceeding check here.


  • National Debtline can help if you have been left with debt after a separation and need advice on how to deal with it. They have a range of advice and tools to help you, just follow this link.


  • Pensions and Divorce can be complex and difficult to navigate, throw in an Armed Forces Pension and it could become even more so. To hopefully dispel some myths and explain the basics on Pensions Sharing and Divorce follow this link to the Forces Pension Society. The advice is to seek professional assistance on this subject.


  • Forces Families Jobs is the go-to place for training and employment for family members of currently serving UK military personnel. If, after you are separated or divorced, you need or want to get back in to work, Forces Families Jobs can support any separated partner and any divorced partner for a year, post-divorce.


  • Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly – or twice monthly for some people in Scotland. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or cannot work. For details of eligibility and how to claim in England or if you live in Northern Ireland.


  • Child Maintenance Both parents are expected to contribute financially to bringing up their children until they are at least 16 years old. There are different ways that you can arrange child maintenance and there are pros and cons to each way. The Money Advice Service has some guidance to help find a way that work for you. If you are unable to reach a private agreement on how your child’s / children’s living costs will be paid, then CMS (Child Maintenance Service, formerly Child Support Agency) will be able to assist you.

You can use this calculator to work out an amount of child maintenance for your children. It will not send your details to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Child maintenance payments do not affect any claim you make for benefits or Tax Credits.

This guide contains information that can help you to make this decision or this one if you are in Scotland.


The MOD has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Child Maintenance Group (which is responsible for Child Maintenance in the UK). The MOU aims to avoid disadvantaging Service Personnel from the start or variation of payments while they are deployed on operations. If you have any queries concerning payments you should contact the DWP office quoted in your correspondence from them.

The CMS is committed to ensuring members of the Armed Forces, both paying and receiving parents, are able to access the service at a convenient time and there is specific guidance for CMS caseworkers on how to manage cases involving Armed Forces personnel. The CMS also have a focal point within the organisation who are a point of contact for caseworkers providing specialist advice, guidance and support in the administration of Armed Forces cases.

There are some instances where the CMS will need to send a physical letter in addition to the self-service portal. In these cases, the letter would be sent to the address provided by the parent. If the address provided is a UK-based Forces address, and they have a common surname they should provide the CMS with their Service number to include in the address field so it can be directed to them swiftly.

Parents in the Armed Forces who are on deployment and do not have access to the self-service portal to review their account while they are on duty should consider notifying the CMS, either by phone or in advance through the self-service portal, so they know how to contact the parent concerned. In some cases, parents are able to nominate a representative to act on their behalf which can be a friend or relative, and they can set this up by contacting the CMS.

Non-UK / Commonwealth

The NFF are now regulated by the OISC (Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner) to give qualified and timely immigration advice to Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their family members, and other supporting agencies.

Additional information on other Non-UK and Commonwealth subjects can be found on our website.

If you have decided to separate from your spouse or partner or they have told you that the marriage is over, then what probably won’t be a big priority for you is talking to a Home Office official about your family circumstances. However, it is really important that you contact the Home Office to let them know about your separation. Click here for more information.

Although your spouse can’t cancel your visa the Home Office does have the power to do so. That’s why, if you are in the UK on a Spouse Visa and you are thinking about separating or getting divorced, it is very important to take Immigration and Family Law advice before you take any steps. A Family and Immigration solicitor won’t pressure you to change your mind but they will want to advise you on the best way to go about a separation or divorce and stay in the UK, assuming that you want to be able to stay in the UK after your separation.


If you are from abroad and are here as a dependent of your ex-partner, you can stay in the UK if your relationship has broken down due to domestic violence. Please follow this link for further guidance.


To find out how to stay in the UK even if your visa is based on your relationship with your ex-partner, this page on the Citizens Advice website may offer some guidance.

FAQ and further help

You can find further support and help on our website including our transition guide for families which contains advice and information on all aspects of transition. Even if you are not the Service Person, you could still find this helpful as you may want to distance yourself from all that is familiar to Service life.


RN FPS (Royal Navy Family and People Support) formerly Royal Navy Welfare, may be able to help you on matters such as health and wellbeing or compassionate support.


Finally, when a relationship is over it can be hard to get used to solo life. But there is life after divorce and many people go on to be happy and fulfilled.  

Will I need to leave the SFA I live in?

Yes, the likelihood is where you live will change. For enquiries about loss of entitlement to SFA resulting from retirement, redundancy, discharge or estrangement, please contact the Loss of Entitlement Team by telephoning 01904 418000 or 94510 8000. Alternatively, you can contact the team by email: . If you believe that you will lose entitlement to SFA in the future, or find yourself in this situation, advice is available from a variety of sources. As well as the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO), other sources of information and advice are Service charities, families’ federations, housing advice centres, and local authorities.

Where will I live now?

There are different options available, such as private rent, Housing Association housing and social housing. Social housing is not easily accessible in many areas, and it is important to consider all possible options and locations. Local authorities do have a duty of care to house homeless people, but it may be in a B&B or hostel rather than a permanent house. If you are the Service Person you may still be entitled to SFA / SLA.

How can I apply for social housing?

You need to register with the local authority as homeless and provide evidence to support this, such as your Notice to Vacate. Speak to a Housing Officer within the local authority you want to move to and ask them to outline other housing options.


Partners and Spouses separating from the Serving Person may still need to have a local connection when applying for social housing, however The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government released new guidance under section 169 of the Housing Act 1996 (‘the 1996 Act’) on 27 June 2020 which states “The Secretary of State strongly encourages local authorities to exempt from any local connection requirements divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service personnel who need to move out of accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence” The full details of this guidance can be read here.

Does the Serving Person have to change their PstatCat?

The Service person is required to inform their CO (or authorised representative) of any change to their personal circumstances that could affect their PstatCat.

Can I get Child and Spousal Maintenance?

You can make arrangements privately with your ex to pay towards the costs of bringing up any children you have, or have the Child Maintenance Service make this arrangement if you cannot come to a family agreement. More details can be found on our main Separation & Divorce page. Spousal maintenance is a more complex subject and there are several factors that need to be considered; we advise that you seek legal advice. It’s important to understand that spousal maintenance is just that – financial support from one spouse to another, paid on the breakdown of a marriage. It does not apply to unmarried couples and is different to child maintenance.

Will I still pay Child Maintenance if overseas?

As a parent you would still be required to pay maintenance whilst deployed. If you have made a private family arrangement to pay child maintenance then that is for you to discuss with the other parent. If you have an arrangement through CMS (Child Maintenance Service) the liability is a percentage (between 12% and 19% depending on the number of children) of a paying parent’s gross income. If the paying parent’s liability is based on historic income, the CMS is provided with income information directly from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the last complete tax year. The liability is then adjusted to take into account other income or shared care arrangements. This figure is reviewed annually with the latest data from HMRC. The liability would only change during the year if a parent’s income increased or decreased by more than 25% and this change would last more than 12 weeks, or there were some other changes that affect the amount that should be paid.

If you have a case with CMS it is vital that you inform them if you are to be deployed overseas.

What happens to our assets and belongings?

Try to work things out between you regarding who gets what, but be prepared to compromise. Mediation may be an option for you to consider to help guide you to an agreement or getting initial advice from a specialist family law solicitor. Things may also be different if you’re co-habiting, than if you are married or in a civil partnership. Money Advice Service has some really helpful advice for these different situations.

Does my spouse get any of my AF pension?

A pension is not treated the same as a capital asset because there is no ‘pot’ of money to divide. However, it is an asset which is can be taken into consideration by the courts when parties divorce and the courts can make orders against the pension in favour of the other spouse. There are options available to couples when they divorce but each one depends upon the circumstances of each individual case and will depend on what other assets there are and what everything is worth. As it can be a complex subject, it is advised that you seek professional advice. Forces Pension Society or White Ensign Association may be able to assist you.

Posted on: 26th June, 2020
Updated on: 22nd September, 2020


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Domestic Abuse affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men and can impact anyone, regardless of background. It impacts significantly on the victim, the perpetrator and any associated children. Victims are not responsible for another person’s abusive or controlling behaviour. Any victim of domestic abuse has the right to be supported and to stay safe.



If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse and need help or support you can find support through Naval Service Family and People Support, via the Police, or from specialist organisations, whose details are provided below, who exist to support anyone experiencing domestic abuse. If you need help in an emergency, if you fear for your safety or that of someone else you should always call 999 or the relevant emergency number if overseas.


Message from the Ministry of Defence:

The Armed Forces People Support Families team within the Ministry of Defence are currently refreshing their internal policy – the Joint Service Publication 913 on Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence and would very much like to gather survivor feedback, once it is drafted, to make sure it is the best possible policy for those experiencing these issues.


We understand that this topic can and will be distressing for survivors and therefore want to assure potential volunteers that there will be a number of options available to provide feedback: on a one to one basis, over email after reading the policy or in a group. However, there will be no need for a survivor to discuss their particular experiences. Any feedback provided will be treated confidentially and will not be attributed to any individuals or groups.


Please get in touch with if you would like to be involved.


If you are being impacted by any of the issues outlined above please utilise the list of contact details below of organisations who can provide support and guidance.


NS FPS offers free and confidential advice and support on all aspects of domestic abuse. Please give them a call to speak to one of their highly trained staff.


This Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. For advice in Northern Ireland: 0800 917 1414, Scotland: 0800 027 1234 or Wales: 0808 80 10 800.


Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. They empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of their work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs.


SSAFA provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving, or has ever served, and their families including those experiencing domestic abuse. Their Stepping Stone Homes are a safe place to stay for women and their children experiencing domestic abuse.


Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner or from other family members.


This confidential helpline is available for all men across the UK suffering from domestic violence or domestic abuse by their current or former wife or partner (including same-sex partner).


  • Galop – 0800 999 5428

Galop offers emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse.


The Respect Phone line is for anyone who is concerned about their own behaviour towards their partner (male, female, in heterosexual or same-sex relationships).


  • The Royal Navy Chaplaincy Service works within Royal Navy and Royal Marine units throughout the world. It is completely confidential and available to service personnel and their families. Chaplains are able to provide guidance and pastoral support regardless of your religious beliefs. You can find a Chaplain by contacting your nearest unit.


  • Citizens Advice Rushmoor runs a national e-mail support service for victims of domestic abuse from within the Foreign and Commonwealth community of the Armed Forces. The e-mail service can also be accessed by practitioners working with these families. Advice will be given specific to the needs of the individual to enable them to make informed decisions. The e-mail address is:


  • Aurora New Dawn provides an Armed Forces Advocate service to victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and/or stalking (aged 16+), as follows:
    • Where the victim is a serving member of the armed forces;
    • Where the victim is from an armed forces family (parents or partner are serving members of the armed forces);
    • Where the abuse is perpetrated by individuals who are either serving members of the armed forces or veterans.

    This can be accessed from anywhere in the UK or overseas by calling +4423 9247 9254 or emailing


Useful resources


Posted on: 28th April, 2016
Updated on: 18th June, 2020