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Some Legal Issues in a Military Divorce

Service members and former service members who are married, like all of us, face marital problems that may eventually lead to divorce. Military divorce, however, involves laws and procedural rules that are unique. If you or your spouse is an active or inactive service member and you are contemplating dissolution of your marriage, then speaking to a family law attorney with proven experience in military divorce is absolutely important.

Jurisdictional Issues

Once the decision to terminate a marriage is made, questions that can arise often involve where to file the petition. To acquire jurisdiction over the person of a defendant who is in the military service, the petition must be filed in the state of the service member’s residence.

Residence for service members may not always be where they currently live, because the law recognizes the mobility of service members who are in active duty. For many who are assigned to a different state due to military duty, their state of residence is their home of record.

Determining the appropriate jurisdiction can become complicated when the serviceman’s home, real property, and current residence are in different states.

Other jurisdictional issues can also arise in related family law matters such as:

In child custody battles involving children residing abroad due to a parent’s military duty in a foreign country, the court where the child would ordinarily live has jurisdiction.

For child support actions against a service member, the case must be filed in the state that exercises personal jurisdiction over the parent paying the support or in the service member’s state of residence.

Rights of Non-Civilian Spouses after Military Divorce


The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) provides certain rules on the status of specific rights and benefits previously enjoyed by a former spouse of a service member. The duration of the marriage coinciding with the duration of the active service of the military spouse is a significant factor in the availability of certain benefits after divorce. An experienced military divorce attorney can be especially helpful in guiding you through the process with favorable results.

In Clearwater, Florida, The Law Firm For Family Law established by military divorce attorney Gary Williams has handled over 1,800 cases, including military divorce cases. Mr. Williams is a Board Certified Expert in Martial and Family Law, helping families of military servicemen manage the legal challenges of a divorce.

We invite you to call us today at (727) 531-8737 to obtain more information about your situation.

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