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Where do I file a military divorce?

In a standard civilian divorce, the case is filed with the court in the county where the married couple last lived. If the filer, as well as the spouse, have moved out of that county, then the case can be filed in the county in which the filer currently resides. Regarding the state of filing, a civilian divorce case should be filed in the state in which a married couple resided for at least six months of the preceding year. However, these rules are different in a military divorce.

It is important to know that a U.S. Service Member cannot be served with divorce proceedings while on active duty or, subject to court discretion, for 60 days following active duty. This is to allow the service member to maintain complete focus on serving their country, without distraction. This is a federal law, which means that military divorce is considered both a state and a federal matter.

Whereas the rules for filing location for civilians are set in stone, military members and spouses have three options to choose from. First, a divorce may be filed in the state where the filer resides. Second, it may be filed in the state in which the military member is stationed. Or third, filing may take place in the state in which the military member claims permanent residency.

A military divorce will follow the rules of whichever state the filer chooses to file in. Therefore, a consult with a divorce attorney can be helpful in determining the best location depending on circumstances specific to a case.

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