CA Military Divorce for USMC Private, MI Resident

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CA Military Divorce for USMC Private, MI Resident

I am a 19-year-old US Marine stationed at 29 Palms MCAGCC for less than 6 months. My wife and I are residents of Michigan and were married less than 3 months ago in Tennessee. We are seeking an uncontested divorce w/ no property or debt to divide. I understand that we can file for divorce in CA, but the forms make no recognition of my rights to file here under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act … I cannot afford a lawyer. What can I do?

Asked on July 2, 2009 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Barry H. Herlihy / Herlihy & Herlihy, Incorporated

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I suggest you log on to http://www.29palms.usmc.mil/base/sja/ to obtain information regarding the services and advice available through your base Legal Office, then make an appointment and discuss your specific situation with a legal assistance officer.

My recollection of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is that it does not affect the residence requirements of the California Family Code. Instead its basic premise is to protect service members from involuntarily being classified as residents of a state in which they are stationed simply as a result of their physical presence in that state. If you want to become a California resident (and thus qualify to seek dissolution of the marriage in a California court) you must take certain steps to demonstrate an intent to be a resident of California--and be here in the State as a permanent resident for the required period of time before filing for dissolution of the marriage.

If you and your wife are Michigan residents dissolution of the marriage could be accomplished much more quickly in Michigan--your wife could return to Michigan and file the appropriate action to dissolve the marriage in the Michigan court. If you are still a Michigan resident, she is still a Michigan resident.

I hope this advice has been useful and is still current. It's been awhile since I retired as an Air Force JAG officer. Good luck--and go see the Base Legal Office before you do anything else. You might take your wife with you, so she hears the same advice you do.

 

Barry H. Herlihy / Herlihy & Herlihy, Incorporated

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I suggest you log on to http://www.29palms.usmc.mil/base/sja/ to obtain information regarding the services and advice available through your base Legal Office, then make an appointment and discuss your specific situation with a legal assistance officer.

My recollection of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is that it does not affect the residence requirements of the California Family Code. Instead its basic premise is to protect service members from involuntarily being classified as residents of a state in which they are stationed simply as a result of their physical presence in that state. If you want to become a California resident (and thus qualify to seek dissolution of the marriage in a California court) you must take certain steps to demonstrate an intent to be a resident of California--and be here in the State as a permanent resident for the required period of time before filing for dissolution of the marriage.

If you and your wife are Michigan residents dissolution of the marriage could be accomplished much more quickly in Michigan--your wife could return to Michigan and file the appropriate action to dissolve the marriage in the Michigan court. If you are still a Michigan resident, she is still a Michigan resident.

I hope this advice has been useful and is still current. It's been awhile since I retired as an Air Force JAG officer. Good luck--and go see the Base Legal Office before you do anything else. You might take your wife with you, so she hears the same advice you do.

 


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