If you’re in the military and are considering filing for divorce, then you may assume that some of the same rules that apply to civilian couples looking to do the same also apply to you. That’s not the case in many respects, though.
You may be able to delay divorce or custody proceedings while you’re on active duty. You may also not be subject to the same residency requirements civilian couples must meet before filing for or finalizing their divorce. Plus, you may be surprised to learn that you have three options for choosing where to file to end your marriage.
Why can you file for divorce in three different states?
A divorce petition that involves a member of the military can be filed in the state where the military spouse resides, in the state where the military member is currently stationed and the state where the military member claims permanent legal residency.
Automatic stays automatically apply to some military divorces
A federal law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) applies to individuals in the military. It provides any soldier with a 90-day reprieve from responding to family law proceedings after completing their active duty.
Additional rules that may apply to your military divorce
Service members also have different requirements in terms of how long they must have lived in an area before they can divorce.
Keep in mind that part of coming up with a divorce settlement may involve you coming up with custody arrangements as well. You’ll need to account for some unique concerns if you’re subject to deployment or live in a separate state from your child.
You may find it helpful to have an attorney who has guided other service members through the divorce process to help you do the same.