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Why does it matter where I divorce?

Jurisdiction is generally not source of contention in civilian divorces. Spouses typically file where they live. However, when it comes to military divorces, jurisdiction can be much more complicated because couples move around a lot, live separately and can be stationed just about anywhere.

Because there may be several options in terms of where you can file for divorce, it is important that you take into account a few factors when deciding where you will file.

State laws vary 

Every state has its own laws regarding matters like property division and child support. Some states split property equally, others do it equitably; some favor shared custody, others do not. You will want to be sure you understand these laws as they relate to your specific situation, as they can vary widely and not necessarily in your favor. In other words, you should prioritize the issues that are most important to you and then balance those against the various state laws.

You may not meet filing requirements

Some states require you to live there for a certain period of time, or to wait a certain number of days between separating and filing for divorce. While these rules can be relaxed for military members, the states vary in how and if they will make these exceptions. 

Filing in another state is not always a good idea

Filing for divorce in a state with favorable laws for your needs may not actually be feasible. If you never lived there, you won't be able to file there. And if you decide to file in a state other than the one in which you live, you should consider the fact that you will still need to travel there. If you choose a place that's far away, any potential benefit you might have by doing so could be erased by the complications it adds to your life.

These are just a few things military spouses will want to consider when deciding where to file for divorce. If you have questions or concerns about filing in California, it can be crucial that you discuss them with an attorney experienced in military divorces.

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