Getting Divorced? Here’s Where You Should File

Family & Relationships
Photo by James Clark

Military divorce is as complicated as it is heartbreaking with issues of state and federal laws and benefits in play. Where you file can greatly impact your divorce.


In order to get a clearer picture of where service members should file for divorce, Task & Purpose spoke with Matthew Randle, an Arizona family lawyer and Army veteran, who explained how the process works.

What makes military divorce most difficult, Randle said, is the cross section of federal and state law, because while divorce is typically a state issue, the benefits are a federal issue.

According to him, each state has jurisdiction over its residents, and members of the military are included in that.

As a general rule, married couples should file for divorce in the state where they currently reside, he suggests. Laws are different by state, and where you file can make a big difference in how a divorce will proceed and in both parties’ situations after the divorce is final.

Related: How to embrace the suck of your military divorce »

However, being that this is the military, there is always the possibility that you are or your spouse is overseas, or you both reside in different locations stateside.

“You may be required to file in that location, depending on the laws of that particular jurisdiction,” Randle says.

“When you start to get into multiple jurisdiction questions,” he adds, “you’ve really got to have a lawyer involved.”

Ultimately, it’s the court’s decision. Typically, the state where the divorce was first filed can decide whether it will pass the case to another state or take it, Randle says.

However, issues of jurisdiction are very complex, and it is important to note that things can also change if one or both parties decide to move. Military divorce can also be further complicated when there are children or benefits on the line.

In the case that a service member can’t be present for the proceedings in the chosen jurisdiction, it’s also important to note that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is there to protect his or her rights.

DISCLAIMER: The treatment of military and veterans benefits in divorce is a complicated issue, which is governed by federal and state laws. The information contained in this article covers only the basics, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot replace personalized advice from a divorce attorney. If you have questions about military disability pay and divorce, you should contact a family law attorney with experience in military divorces.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less

Airman 1st Class Isaiah Edwards has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military jury found him guilty of murder in connection with the death of a fellow airman in Guam, Air Force officials announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

It took four years for the Army to finally start fielding the much-hyped Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and it took soldiers less than four days to destroy one.

Read More Show Less
Capt. Jonathan Turnbull. (U.S. Army)

A soldier remains in serious condition after being injured in the deadly ISIS bombing that killed two other U.S. service members, a DoD civilian, and a defense contractor in Syria last week, Stars and Stripes reports.

Read More Show Less

A Russian man got drunk as all hell and tried to hijack an airplane on Tuesday, according to Russian news agencies.

So, pretty much your typical day in Siberia. No seriously: As Reuters notes, "drunken incidents involving passengers on commercial flights in Russia are fairly common, though it is unusual for them to result in flights being diverted."

Read More Show Less