How to File a Divorce in Your State of Residency While in the Military

By Heather Frances J.D.

Military members must get divorced in state civilian courts, and the basic divorce steps are similar whether the divorcing couple is military or civilian. However, military service can complicate the divorce when it comes to issues of residency. State laws determine where you, as the military member, can file your divorce case.

Determining Where You Can File

State laws determine who can file for divorce in each state's courts. It may not be enough that you live in a particular state, since states typically require a period of residency before you can file. For example, Florida law generally requires at least six months of residence in the state before you can file for divorce there, and you must prove your residency with a driver's license, government identification card or other official documentation. Often, military members can choose from multiple states where they are eligible to file. For example, you may be able to file in your legal state of residency--typically the state where you pay taxes--and the state where you are currently stationed.

Filing While Overseas

Filing while overseas can be more difficult than filing while you are at home, but it is not impossible. Many states, like Virginia and Florida, allow military members to file while deployed if they claim legal residency in the state or are stationed there. For example, if you are stationed in Virginia but deployed to Afghanistan, you may be able to file for divorce in Virginia even while you are overseas. You may also be able to file in your spouse's state of residency since states typically only require one spouse to live in the state to obtain a divorce there.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Serving a Military Spouse

If your spouse is also a military member, you may run into problems trying to serve her with the divorce paperwork, thereby delaying your case. Generally, states require you to serve your spouse personally with notice of the divorce lawsuit before the case can proceed. Many states also allow a form of substituted service, such as service by mail, so you may be able to serve her in these ways even if she is stationed overseas. If you have the ability to choose between your state of residency and your spouse's state, you may want to check out the service options in each state before deciding where to file.

Military Pensions and Other Factors

Where you file can also affect other aspects of your divorce, including child support calculations and division of your military pension. Since state laws determine how your divorce court addresses these matters, choosing a state in which to file may determine the outcome of many divorce issues. For example, though states can divide military pensions according to their laws, Puerto Rico courts cannot divide military pensions. The cost of traveling to another state for the divorce might be another factor to consider. For example, if you recently were stationed in a state far away from your spouse, you may wish to wait to file until you qualify to file in your new state. This may help you avoid the cost of traveling to your spouse's state for hearings or other divorce-related issues.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Divorce a Wife That Left the State
 

References

Related articles

Can You Get Divorced in Georgia if You Were Married in South Carolina?

Where you get a divorce doesn't depend on where you got married. It depends on where you live at the time you file. The state where you file must have jurisdiction over your matter to grant you a divorce, and this is legally achieved if you live there. You can also usually file in the state where your spouse resides.

Divorce Laws in the Air Force

The divorce of a service member, whether in the Air Force or any other branch of the military, is handled in a civilian state court. A spouse filing for divorce must meet state residency requirements, and the division of assets and benefits between the couple also is handled in accordance with state law. However, there are several unique wrinkles governing the divorce of a military member, especially if he is deployed oversees.

Requirements for a Divorce in a Kentucky Prison

Filing for divorce in Kentucky is a relatively straightforward process, with the steps largely influenced by your individual circumstances. If your spouse is incarcerated, you may still file for divorce. However, the process may take a little longer due to the restrictions on your spouse's movement. The divorce may also take longer if your spouse is uncooperative or you're unable to reach agreement on marital issues, such as property division.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Jurisdiction Issues in a Texas Divorce

Texas requires anyone who files for divorce in the state to meet both state and county residency requirements. Since ...

Information on Getting Divorced While in the Marine Corps

Like civilians, Marines get divorced. But only civilian courts can grant divorce petitions, and the divorce process is ...

Military Divorce in North Carolina

Military courts don’t issue divorces, so military members must get divorces from state courts like everyone else. ...

Divorce & Jurisdiction

State laws vary when it comes to obtaining a divorce, so it may be tempting to file for divorce in the state with the ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED