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Where can process be served in a military divorce?

Marriages in which one party is in the military face challenges that civilian marriages do not. Military spouses will have to deal with constant moves and long deployments, all of which can take a toll on a couple’s marriage. Sometimes the conflicts are just too much to deal with, and the couple will decide to divorce. However, when it comes to a military divorce couples in Virginia should understand that certain rules will apply to them that would not be applicable in a civilian divorce.

One example is the service of process in a military divorce. In a civilian divorce, one or both spouses usually must be residents of the state in which they wish to file divorce. However, in a military divorce, couples have choices when it comes to deciding where to file for divorce. They can file for divorce in the state where the service member is currently stationed. They can file for divorce in the state where either party currently resides. Or, they can file for divorce in the state in which the service member claims he or she is a legal resident.

It is important to note that the state in which the divorce is filed is the state that will govern the divorce. This makes the decision of where to file for divorce more complicated, because both the service member and his or her spouse will have their own personal reasons for wanting one state’s laws to apply over another state’s. Since state law varies with regards to issues such as the division of assets, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance, making an appropriate choice is critical.

Military couples may hope that their marriage can withstand the complications being in the military can present. However, when spouses are separated for long periods of time, they may simply grow apart. In addition, having to move from one state to another every few years is not easy and could lead to arguments that simply cannot be resolved. In these situations, a couple may decide that getting a divorce is in their best interests. However, they should make sure they are aware of what state law will apply so they can proceed in a manner that is fair and appropriate.

Source: FindLaw, “Military Divorce,” May 1, 2018

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