No one likes to consider the possibility of divorce. Not only does divorce equal the end of a marriage, it also means the end of a legally-recognized partnership. Divorce with unique circumstances can become even more difficult.
For military members and their spouses, seeking a divorce can have different requirements and different outcomes than it does for civilians.
Determining Where You File for a Military Divorce
For military individuals seeking divorce, it’s important to file in the state that is recognized as your domicile. The court in which you file for divorce must have what is known as “jurisdiction” over you. Otherwise, your divorce will not be valid.
There are a few criteria you can use to determine the US state in which to file for your divorce:
- The state where you pay taxes
- The state you purchased a vehicle or own property
- The state where you regularly attend church or take part in community organizations
- The state where you and/or your ex-spouse are registered to vote
- The state where you have a banking account
- The state where you received in-state tuition rates for college
- The state where you own property and pay real estate taxes
The state where you and your ex-spouse were married is not necessarily the right state to file for your divorce. Similarly, the state where you currently live might not be the best state to choose. It’s important to discuss these matters with your attorney before choosing a state.
How Does Your Filing State Affect the Outcome Of Your Divorce?
You might be wondering why the state in which you file is such an important aspect of a military divorce.
The answer lies in each state’s unique laws governing the divorce of a military member and their spouse. Some states, for instance, require a mandatory separation period of up to one year before divorce can be pursued.
In order to file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must have been legal residents for at least six months. However, there is no mandatory separation period before a divorce proceeding can begin.
It’s important to note that you can’t file for divorce in Florida if your military spouse is away on active duty. He or she must be served with a copy of the divorce action and a summons. The only way to avoid the summons process is to have your military spouse sign a waiver affidavit to signal an uncontested divorce.
Do You Need An Attorney For a Military Divorce?
Making a mistake during the filing process could mean missing out on retirement benefits or other benefits that military spouses are entitled to. This is why you need an experienced military divorce attorney on your side–throughout the process.
Are you a military spouse or serviceperson seeking a divorce in the state of Florida? The Law Offices of Laura Spencer Coleman specialize in military divorce. Laura Spencer Coleman has nearly 20 years of experience helping military members and military spouses navigate divorce in Florida.
Contact our offices today to schedule your first meeting.