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Where to file a military divorce

The place a military couple resides presents complications and possible advantages for couples seeking a military divorce. These couples often move throughout the United States and face different laws among these jurisdictions and military laws which may be favorable or complicate divorce.

Determining residency may be complicated. For example, a couple may have resided in one state, held their marriage ceremony in another state, moved to other states and own property in another jurisdiction. They may not have lived in their current state long enough to have established legal residency requirements. Making matters more complicated, states have different laws governing matters such as child custody, property distribution and dividing military benefits.

In many cases, a couple should claim residency in the state they actually live instead of the residence claimed for tax purposes. Many times, service personnel claim an official home that is actually unrelated to the state that will govern their divorce proceedings. The location of their marriage ceremony is irrelevant to divorce jurisdiction.

Both spouses do not have to have residency in the state where their divorce is filed. The couple may agree to file the divorce in a specific state.

Couples should take several matters into account when choosing the state for filing divorce. These include the state where they vote, pay taxes, hold their bank account, own property subject to real estate taxes, attend church, qualify for in-state tuition for college or the jurisdiction which issued their drivers' licenses and automobile titles.

Divorce laws and other issues should be considered when choosing the place to file divorce. These include travel costs, the availability of no-fault divorce, rules governing periods of separation before a decree may be issued, the proof needed in a divorce where fault is an element and the allocation of property.

Service members in Texas should seek an attorney's advice when ending their marriages. This helps assure that they have access to the most favorable options and can pursue their rights.

Source: Military.com, "Military Divorce: Why Where You File Matters," Accessed July 17, 2016

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