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Where to File Divorce- Military Edition

1. General Rule

The general rule in Texas is that a person may file for divorce in the Texas county where the person resides if he or she has been domiciled in Texas for six months and a resident of the county where filing for 90 days. Texas law provides specific definitions of "domicile" and "residence," but for purposes of this article I will keep it simple and treat them as though they mean the same thing- being physically present in and making one's home in Texas.

2. Rule for Military Servicemembers

Many Texan servicemembers move often, so it is unlikely that the servicemember will be physically present in Texas when he or she wants to file for divorce. The good news is that the time period a Texas servicemember spends away from Texas while in the service is considered residence in the state of Texas and in the county where the servicemember resided when he or she entered the service. This means that a servicemember's absence from Texas for military service does not count against him or her in counting months of domicile and days of residence for purposes of filing in Texas.

3. Is Texas Your Permanent Home?

Designating Texas as one's residence on the Leave and Earnings Statement is not sufficient on its own to establish Texas residence for purpose of filing for divorce in Texas. An active duty servicemember resides or is domiciled in Texas for purposes of filing divorce in Texas if the servicemember 1) lived in Texas at the time he or she entered the service; 2) intends for Texas to be his or her permanent home; and 3) takes actions that evidence the intent for Texas to be his or her permanent home. Some of the actions that may support Texas residence include, but are not limited to, owning property in Texas, maintaining a Texas driver's license, maintaining Texas voter registration, voting in Texas and banking in Texas.

4. Servicemembers Stationed in Texas

A servicemember who lives in or has a permanent home in a state other than Texas but who is stationed in a Texas military installation may choose to file in the Texas county where he or she has been stationed if he or she has been at a Texas installation at least six months and at the installation in the county for at least 90 days.

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