Are there issues regarding security clearances for federal employees that could be impacted by divorce?

By Carolyn Grimes
December 14, 2016

The typical security clearance issues result when there's been violence between the parties. In this area there are a lot of security clearances, and depending on what the issue is, the employee has to report it. If they don't report it, then they get in trouble on their next security clearance, and could lose their job. The issue sometimes arises if the spouse is so angry at their spouse that they call their boss, and start telling them all kinds of things.

A lot of things that happen in the marriage don't affect security clearance, but what security clearances are usually worried about is if there's violence, or if there is a whole lot of debt – because if they deem you've got a lot of debt, then you are more susceptible to being contacted by a foreign country to become a spy because you've got debt that you need to have paid. Those are the kind of issues they most employees within a high enough clearance have to report, that they're going through a divorce, and have to state what is happening, and they will investigate, and sometimes the investigators contact the spouse. Be truthful, but be careful because those are federal benefits that can be lost.

Carolyn Grimes is a family lawyer at the law firm of Wade Grimes Friedman Sutter & Leischner PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia. To learn more about Grimes and her firm, visit

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December 14, 2016
Categories:  FAQs

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