If you research how to get a divorce without typing in any additional search terms, then you’ll likely come across a lot of information mentioning how you’re required to file for divorce in the state where you maintain legal residency. This rule of thumb doesn’t necessarily apply to you if you’re in the military or married to someone who is. Service members and their spouses often qualify to file for divorce in not just one, but three different states.
A service member is generally entitled to file for divorce in either the state where they’re stationed or the one where they maintain a legal residence. A civilian spouse can submit their petition for a dissolution of the marriage in the state where they legally reside as well.
Service members generally don’t have a waiting period to file for divorce, but instead can do so anytime.
There are special rules that apply to military divorces, including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This piece of federal legislation affords service members a reprieve, or “stay,” in their family law case while they’re on active duty. Soldiers may be given an additional 90 days after being released from their responsibilities to respond to such actions as well. This legislation aims to help service members remain focused on their work instead of having their judgment clouded by the threat of impending legal action.
Divorce is a state matter and not a federal one. Laws having to do with property division, child custody and support and alimony can vary depending on where you decide to file for divorce. A military divorce attorney who has extensive experience in serving those who serve can advise you whether filing to end your marriage in Washington is right for you and your family here in Federal Way.