Can You Choose Any State for a Military Divorce?
When looking for the best state for military divorce, in most cases, the service member and soon-to-be former spouse do not have the choice of 50 states to pick from, so there is no need for a book describing the rules of every state. What you need is a good military divorce attorney specialized in jurisdiction rules for the states you might divorce in.
Usually, even if you are assigned overseas, there will be at most, a choice of three states: where you currently live, the state where the service member is working, and the service member’s home of record. (Sometimes these all define the same state, leaving you with only one choice for filing.)
An example of a military divorce that might cross three states: A service member has a home of record of Michigan, but is assigned to work in Virginia, yet lives across state lines in Maryland. (Jurisdiction rules must still be met in each state.)
Don’t rush a divorce filing. Call lawyers in different states. Many will answer the first question for free or even have a free one hour consultation. Read Military Divorce Tips: Health Care, CHCBP, USFSPA, SBP, Retirement Benefits, and Law Answers for Service Members and Former Spouses prior to initiating lawyer discussions. This way you will not waste hours of attorney fees learning basic military divorce issues and you may also gain new ideas to add to your list of questions.
You can use this consultation to compare state military divorce rules. You will learn which state is best for the soon-to-be former spouse or best for the military service member – should you wish to plan your “premeditated divorce” accordingly.
You don’t need a book comparing how every state applies the USFSPA in a military divorce.
And consider this: Instead of spending time focusing on the best state for a military divorce, perhaps you might discuss things amicably and arrive at an equitable and just decision together with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
UPDATE (October 2012): see also Military Divorce State Laws
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