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What Is the Residency Requirement for a Military Divorce?

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If you or your spouse actively serve in a United States military branch, your family may be constantly shuffling around due to frequent relocations or deployments. So, in your unfortunate resolution to get a divorce, you may be unsure which state you can even legally file this action. Read on to discover the residency requirements for a military divorce and how one of the seasoned Clarksville military divorce lawyers at Fendley and Etson can help you make other careful considerations throughout your proceedings.

What is the residency requirement for a military divorce in the state of Tennessee?

Tennessee law holds that you or your spouse must be an official state resident for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state. However, there may be an exception to this residency requirement if you or your spouse are on active military duty. In this case, you or your spouse may file for divorce in Tennessee if you have been stationed here for at least one year. Therefore, you must understand that being “stationed” is different than having to be a “resident.”

Further, say that you wish to serve divorce papers to your spouse currently deployed overseas. You may not initially realize this, but this may require you to provide a copy of the divorce papers in the official language of the country where they are deployed. Of note, this is regardless of whether they can read or speak in that language.

Lastly, after being served, your spouse may request a stay of your divorce proceedings, as per the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This is if they can effectively argue that their active military service will materially affect their ability to participate in the divorce proceedings. On average, the Tennessee family court may grant a delay of 90 days.

How else is a military divorce different than a standard divorce?

In addition to where and when you may commence your divorce proceedings, the Tennesse family court may handle your military divorce differently than a standard divorce in other ways.

For one, Tennesse laws may categorize and divide military assets and properties differently than standard assets and properties. For example, when separating military pensions, the court may only separate the marital portion. Meaning that only the portion earned during the marriage may be subject to division.

On the other hand, the court may hold that the non-military spouse is entitled to continued access to military healthcare benefits even after the termination of their marriage. The court may reference conditions stated under the United Services Former Spouses Protection Act to finalize its decision.

This is not to mention the complex child custody arrangements to accommodate a military spouse’s frequent relocations and deployments. But rest assured, our team at Fendley and Etson has experience in handling cases just like yours. So please do not be afraid to reach out to one of the competent Clarksville family lawyers.