Can I file a divorce in a state different that the one in which I am living?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I file a divorce in a state different that the one in which I am living?

I’m active duty military and am currently stationed and living in CA. My permanent home of residence is set in OH, however. Am I able to file from out of state? My wife and I both need this to be over soon because I am deploying overseas soon, and the environment is awful between us to the point of her now having a domestic violence charge.

Asked on October 12, 2018 under Family Law, California


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Typically, a spouse can file for divorce in either the state in which they or their spouse lega lly resides. However, as to active military, 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 domicile, where the military spouse is a resident, or where both spouse both agree to. Wherever you file, the laws of that state will govern the divorce. If you’re a service member, domicile is defined as your permanent home, sometimes also called the “state of legal residence.” Some states let service members file for divorce if they are stationed and reside there, even if the service member doesn’t intend to make it their permanent home. However, there’s a possibility that another state might refuse to recognize a divorce that’s based on this “faux residency”. Accordingly, it’s better to file where you are legally domiciled. At this point, you really should consult directly with a local attorney who can best advise s to all of this.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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