Jurisdiction Military Divorce

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Jurisdiction Questions for Military Divorce Laywers

  • The service member is stationed overseas, what court(s) have jurisdiction for the military divorce?
  • My civilian spouse is a native of Germany, where is the best place to file for a military divorce?
  • We just relocated (or have an upcoming) Permanent Change of Station (PCS), are there choices for jurisdiction?

Court orders cannot merely state that they “have Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) jurisdiction” but must state the specific reason for this jurisdiction. Language is important.

It is very important to be aware of your Military Divorce Rights and that there may be a choice of states to file in for divorce.

An entire book could be devoted to addressing jurisdiction, especially when one considers service members located overseas or those entering marriages with foreign nationals.

DoD FMR Vol 7B Ch 29 Former Spouse Payments from Retires Pay covers the requirements for the language used to divide retirement pay.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

In the case of active duty or deployed service members, the court order must also state compliance with the Servicemembers Civil
Relief Act (SCRA) passed in 2003 as an amendment to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA).

Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA)

  • The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) of November 2009 was an amendment to SCRA. The aim was to eliminate
    military spouses from having to change voter registrations, driver’s licenses, and tax filing states every time a military family relocates.However in the case of a military divorce, it means much more:


    “The spouse’s (military and nonmilitary) choice of residence may allow them to avoid “community property” laws, longer-term child
    support payments (some states extend child support payments past age 18) and alimony, among others, despite living in that
    state at the time the document is entered into or divorce is filed.”
    New law finally looks after
    military spouses
    by LCDR Marc J. Soss, SC, USN,
    Association of the United States Navy, Feb, 2010

    It’s worth taking time to read more about the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) as possibly, it can be used when considering which
    state to file in for jurisdiction. Jurisdiction
    is discussed on it’s own page with extensive links (due to the complexity of the issue) but here are some quick links on the issue of the
    Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA):