Where Should I Get Divorced If I’m In the Military?
Being in the military can be hard on a family. There’s a lot of travel and stress. Sometimes relationships just don’t last. Just because you’re in the military doesn’t mean that you can’t get a divorce. However, the process may be a little more challenging than if you were a civilian.
One of the most challenging questions for most servicemembers involves where they should get divorced. Maybe you were stationed in Alaska one year, Florida the next, and now you’re in California. It’s possible that you could be shipped out to a new location right in the middle of your military divorce.
Where should you get divorced when you’re in the military? Where can you legally petition a court to grant a divorce? You’ll need to consider a few different factors when answering these questions.
Which State Should You Choose When Getting a Divorce?
In which state does it make the most sense to file for divorce? Try answering these questions to get an idea.
- Where was your driver’s license issued?
- Where do you own property and real estate?
- Where do your children call home?
- To which state do you pay income taxes?
- To which state do you pay real estate taxes?
- What address do you put down on official government documents and forms?
If you’ve answered the same state multiple times, you might want to consider that state when getting a divorce.
Do You Satisfy Any State’s Residency Requirements?
Most states, including California, have strict divorce residency requirements. You or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. One of you must have also lived in the county where you’re seeking a divorce for no less than three months before filing. Residency means that you have physical and financial ties to the state (and county). For civilians, it also means that you intend to stay put for a while.
When you’re constantly being shipped around the country and world, it can be tough to satisfy these requirements. Fortunately, you can satisfy the requirements if your spouse is a resident of a state, even if you’re not.
What Should I Do If I’m Deployed Overseas?
The residency issue can be challenging enough when you’re in the country. Things can get more complicated when you’ve been deployed overseas. Can you still get a divorce even if you’re out of the country? It’s possible, but chances are high that a court will simply delay the process.
Why? When you’re deployed on active duty, you’re protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Under the SCRA, your spouse can’t file for divorce or serve you with divorce papers while you’re on active duty. The intent is to prevent distractions while you’re serving your country. The only way your spouse can file for divorce is if they get a court order.
What if you want to get divorced while you’re overseas? Unless there’s a pressing reason to dissolve the marriage, you’ll probably have to wait. Whenever you do decide to get divorced, it’s important to make sure that you work with an experienced family law attorney. They’ll make sure that your rights are protected and that you get what you want and deserve.