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You are married and may hold or plan to obtain a security clearance from the lab. The security clearance process will include disclosing present and past divorces.  A divorce will not prevent you from obtaining a security clearance. After all, you are human too. Your security clearance is important for you to keep your job, support yourself and your children.  However, there are five tips you should follow to minimize a divorce’s effect on your security clearance application process:


# 1.  If you need a security clearance and you are planning to divorce your spouse, consider getting it done before you file for divorce.  Security clearance re-investigations occur frequently depending on the level of your security clearance. If you obtain security clearance before you file divorce you can ensure your personal matters are in order before the next re-investigation begins.

# 2.  Ensure all of your credit accounts, including mortgages, are paid off or current.  While the divorce is pending, debt is sometimes neglected and not paid because the other spouse was supposed to pay the debt and did not.  If the credit is in your name, it could affect your credit score and your security clearance at the same time. If the debt is not being paid or you fear the debt will not be paid by the other party during the divorce, you can ask a judge for a temporary support order to ensure debts are being paid while the divorce is pending.

# 3.  Do not engage in negative behaviors that may affect your chances of obtaining a security clearance.  One behavior, in particular, would be engaging in an act of domestic violence. A simple disagreement could easily be framed that your spouse is afraid of you, lending itself to a protection order issued against you.  The order of protection is put into national databases that show an order of protection was entered against you. As part of a background check, you can be certain that will come up. If this is the case, make sure you disclose this on your background check.  

# 4.  Properly disclose all information about your pending and past divorces.  They will find out if you are trying to hide a “bad divorce”. You may have to disclose an extra-marital affair as a cause of your divorce.  Although New Mexico is a no-fault state, it could matter for your background check.

# 5.  Keep your divorce from becoming public.  The divorce process can be private if the parties can collaborate on the outcome.  If your case becomes contentious, then it is possible you will have multiple hearings in front of a judge where the court proceedings

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