If I’m married to an enlisted marine stationed in the state that we were married in but I now live in another state, in which state do I file for divorce?

Asked on October 21, 2015 under Family Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The law allows for a divorce to be filed in the state where either the husband or the wife has a legal residence. This is because a divorce isn’t valid unless the court that grants it has “jurisdiction” over the spouses. That’s true for every divorce, however in the case of a military divorce federal law provides that in order to make court orders  concerning military retirement plans enforceable, special jurisdictional requirements must be met (unless military retirement benefits are not an issue in the divorce, then it can be filed in either spouse's state of residence). To ensure that the court you choose has jurisdiction over a military retirement plan, you must file for divorce in a state: where the military spouse is domiciled or where the military spouse is a resident.

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