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Jurisdiction and residency requirements in a military divorce

A career in the military is an honorable profession, but it is important to note that long deployments, frequent moves and other aspects of military life can cause a lot of stress on a marriage. Sometimes these stressors become too much, and military spouses in the Austin area will decide to divorce. It is important to note that there are some differences in a military divorce compared to divorces between citizens, including jurisdictional differences.

In both military divorces and civilian divorces, the court must have jurisdiction over the case. In civilian divorces, the court in the state where the person filing for divorce lives is generally the entity that will have jurisdiction over the case. However, in a military divorce a service member may be able to pursue a divorce in another state.

In general, service members seeking a divorce can file their claim in three different places. Service members or their spouse can pursue a divorce in the state where the party filing the claim resides. Service members or their spouse can also pursue a divorce in the state where the service member is station. Finally, service members or their spouse can pursue a divorce in state of the service member’s legal residency.

In addition, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, if a civil action such as child custody proceedings are filed against a service member who is on active duty and thus does not have the ability to appear in court, that service member can request a “stay” of the proceedings. This means the claim will be temporarily postponed until the service member can appear in court, allowing the service member to focus on defending our nation without fear that an unfavorable judgment will be made against them in their absence.

Military life is honorable, but it can also be difficult for married couples. Service members should not have to fear that a divorce judgment will be entered against them while they are stationed somewhere else, and they should also be given some leeway when it comes to residency requirements in a divorce. This post only scratches the surface of jurisdiction in a military divorce and does not contain legal advice. Family law attorneys may be a useful resource for those who want more information on military divorces.