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Where should I file a military divorce?

Military divorces are in a league all their own when it comes to a filing jurisdiction.  In a standard civilian divorce, the case will be filed in whichever state the couple resided in for a minimum of six months is the preceding year, and in whichever county the filer currently lives in. However, due to the relocation commonality of a military lifestyle, different rules apply.

When a military spouse plans to file for divorce, he or she have three options regarding jurisdiction.  First, a case can be filed in the state where a military member is currently stationed, even if the filer lives in a different state.  This brings us to the second filing option, which is for the filer to file in the state in which he or she currently resides.  Finally, a divorce can be filed in whichever state the military spouse claims permanent residency.

There are also a few other important rules affecting military divorce.  By federal law, a US Service Member cannot be served with divorce papers while on active duty or for 60 days following active duty, subject to court discretion.  The purpose for this law is to allow the service member to maintain laser focus on their current situation where lives may be at stake.

Another important issue to note is that a divorce will follow the laws and guidelines of whichever state it is filed in. Therefore, it is extremely important to research those laws prior to filing. For this reason and many others, it is highly recommended that a filer seek the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney prior to filing a military divorce in any state, especially where child custody or support may be involved. These guidelines vary widely from state to state.