Frequently asked questions about military divorce

When one or both spouses seeking a divorce are a member of the military, dissolving the marriage involves some unique challenges and legal issues. It is important to be aware of these issues before divorce proceedings begin.

These are two of the most frequently asked questions about military divorces.

1. In which state should I file for divorce?

Military spouses may not always live in the same state. You can usually file for divorce in either state that one of the spouses lives in if that spouse has lived in the state for at least six months. In most cases, the spouse initiating the divorce files in that spouse’s home state. However, be aware that if you file in a state that is not the legal residence for the spouse who is in the military, the court in that state may not have the authority to divide that spouse’s military pension unless the military spouse consents.

2. Do military divorces take longer?

In most circumstances, when a spouse files for divorce, the other spouse has a limited number of days to respond. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows service members on active duty to ask for a stay if their military service prevents them from responding within the time limit.  If the court grants the stay, it is for a minimum of 90 days.

Military divorces are similar to other types of divorces but do present unique challenges. The military provides resources that can help you understand how the process works.