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Choosing a state for a military divorce

Most people who live in Texas do not need to think about which state in which to file for a divorce. Because they live in the state, they file for divorce there. However, members of the armed forces and their spouses may have the option of filing for divorce because their situation often results in changes in residency. Choosing the state for a divorce is an important decision because the laws vary and may provide different benefits to those involved in the action.

A service member or their soon to be ex-spouse may file for divorce in another state if they have lived in that state previously. If a service member or their spouse has established residency in another state, they may wish to compare how those states deal with family law matters such as spousal support, child custody and division of property or military benefits. In addition, different states have different waiting periods or separation periods couples are required to serve a before finalizing a divorce. Such factors may be advantageous for one spouse, but disadvantageous for the other.

Other things to consider before filing for divorce are whether the service member is currently on deployment and travel expenses. Divorce proceedings may be put on hold while the service member is deployed, and the expense of traveling to another state to file documents or appear for hearings may outweigh any advantages gained from that state's divorce laws.

Active duty service members or their spouses who are considering divorce may wish discuss their cases an attorney. An attorney which is familiar with military family law may be able to help a client understand how the state's laws may benefit the person filing the action and might represent the client in negotiations or hearings regarding the action throughout proceedings.

Source:, "Military Divorce: Why Where You File Matters", September 30, 2014

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