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You may have a choice of where to divorce as a military service member

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | Military Divorce |

If you’re in the military and you’re planning to get divorced, then you’re in a unique position. Most civilians can divorce in one state after maintaining residence there for a certain amount of time.

That’s not the case with you as a service member. Most jurisdictions either shorten or waive their residency requirements. As a service member, you may be able to file for divorce in one of three states.

Where can I file for divorce?

You and your civilian spouse have the option to file for divorce in the state where:

  • You maintain legal residency
  • Your spouse legally resides
  • The military has stationed you

Most states understand that the military transfers service members are regularly transferred. This is why they lift residency requirements in most cases. You may, therefore, find yourself in a situation in which you recently relocated to Georgia and immediately qualify to file for divorce here.

How should I decide where to file for divorce?

Military divorce is a state issue, not a federal one, and each jurisdiction has its own divorce laws. Some are community property states, but most are equitable distribution states. Some require you to provide the grounds for divorce, whereas that’s unnecessary in the rest. These details may impact your ability to file and the outcome in your case. If you’re unhappy with one state’s divorce laws, then you might want to consider filing in another state where you’re eligible.

Special protections afforded to service members facing divorce

You may also find it helpful to know about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). It’s a federal law that provides servicemembers with a 90-day reprieve in responding to any family law proceedings after their release from active duty. As you might imagine, this legislation may impact where you can divorce, so you’ll want to weigh that when deciding how to proceed in your case.

There are a lot of factors to weigh when deciding which jurisdiction you want to file for divorce in. An experienced attorney can tell you more about the Georgia divorce process so that you can see how it stacks up against your other options.