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Where can military members and their family file for divorce?

It is a heroic thing to do, to serve our nation by defending our nation. Military members in Massachusetts and around the world protect our borders and defend the nation and our allies. This guarantees countless other families safety and prosperity. While no-one is arguing with the heroic acts of military members, sometimes military marriages to not work out due to the stresses of the job.

Travel-time, uncertainty and the emotional stress associated with active duty can really take a toll on a marriage. If one or both spouses are military members, they are afforded certain rights during a military divorce. This means that their military divorce is governed by special rules that do not typically apply in a civilian divorce. One of these stipulations is jurisdiction and where a military member or their spouse can file for divorce.

In civilian divorces, the spouses typically have to file in the state that they reside in. That is the state that has jurisdiction over their dissolution of marriage process. In the military, there are a few options as to where the spouses can file for divorce. They can choose to file where the non-military spouse resides, where the military-spouse is stationed or where the military member claims legal residency. This could open the possibility of filing up to as many as three different states.

Since divorce is a state-issue, different states have different laws as to how the divorce process should be handled. This could mean totally different outcomes depending on which state a military member and their spouse decide to file in. Choose wisely, because picking an unfavorable state could mean an outcome that a spouse is not in favor of. It is a luxury to be afforded the choice of where to file for military divorce.

Source:, “Military Divorce,” Accessed Oct. 30, 2016