Divorces are often difficult, and can be even more complex when one or both spouses have careers requiring security clearance. Naturally, people may worry about finances, children, and where to live when thinking about divorce. However, people may not realize that their security clearance could also be at issue. Going through a divorce, if you have a job that requires a security clearance, you should pay special consideration to ensure your clearance is not negatively impacted. It’s important to consult with a family law attorney knowledgeable about these special considerations who can help you properly balance your interests.
Whether you need to disclose anything to a security officer depends on your actual clearance and the nature of your divorce proceeding. Typically, a divorce needs to be reported to an individual’s security officer and reported on the SF-86 filing. An individual’s compliance with divorce proceedings, including any alimony, child support, and custody orders factors into trustworthiness and credibility considerations that are part of a security clearance investigation. While following court orders, including divorce related orders, is always important. It’s especially crucial if your career requires a security clearance. Failure to comply with these court orders could negatively impact an individual’s security clearance. Additionally, routine review of an individual’s security clearance may include an interview with an estranged spouse, which may result in additional review.
Financial issues resulting from a divorce may also impact an individual’s security clearance. Divorces can be expensive and if a divorce results in a spouse being greatly in debt or going into bankruptcy, those financial issues may raise concerns in a clearance investigation.
Do I Need To Self-Report?
Some issues within a divorce are more likely to require self-reporting than others. Potential issues that may require self-reporting include:
- Allegations of domestic violence
- Allegations of adultery, particularly with foreign nationals
- Allegations of hiding income or assets
- Custody evaluations which may involve 3rd party psychological evaluations or statements
This list is not exhaustive and not all allegations will require self-reporting. It’s best to consult with an experienced attorney familiar with these matters.
If you’re preparing for a divorce and are unsure if your security clearance may be affected, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney that can help ensure you’re properly documenting everything and avoid unnecessary issues. An attorney experienced in the process can also help prepare you for what to expect in the process. Family law attorneys at General Counsel, P.C. are experienced in all aspects of divorce and can help you navigate the process. Call us today at 703-991-7973 and see how we can help you.