If your spouse is active duty military, it’s important to think about their military pension. If they are going to be in the military until they retire, so they’re going to be in for at least 20 years of credible service, and you want to be able to get a portion of that military retirement, then you want to make sure that you file in the state that they have declared as their legal residence for the military. That’s kind of a unique situation in a divorce, because if a person consents to jurisdiction wherever you’re currently living, then it’s fine, but if they don’t consent to have jurisdiction over their pension, then it can cause a problem. If a pension is involved and you want to make sure you get a portion of that pension, you want to make sure you file the divorce papers in the active duty person’s state of legal residence. If there is no military pension involved, if that is not something that you’re asking for, then you can either file in the state where you have been residing for the last six months or the state of legal residence.
Ginger L. Dugan, a family lawyer at All Family Law Group in Tampa, Florida, has 10 years of experience in family law and handling complex cases.