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Can a service member living abroad seek a divorce?

A divorce between a military service member from Gulfport and his or her spouse is subject to its own special rules and regulations, particularly with regards to health care benefits, spousal support and child support. However, what happens if one spouse is stationed overseas and is seeking a military divorce?

If a service member files for a divorce in a nation other than the United States, U.S. courts may not recognize the divorce as legal. However, if either spouse is a resident of the jurisdiction in which the divorce was granted, and if service and notice were properly administered, then the court, whether in the United States or abroad, may grant the divorce and such a ruling will be honored by U.S. courts.

Of course, things can be made easier if a service member files for divorce in the United States, rather than abroad. Military law permits service members or their partners to seek a divorce in either the place where the military service member is stationed, the place where the service member is a legal resident or the state where the service member's partner lives.

If a service member is abroad when he or she is getting a divorce, that service member, his or her children and his or her property may be able to go back to the United States. This may simplify the divorce process for all. In the end, however, service members living abroad who are seeking a divorce or who have been served with divorce papers may want to speak with a military family law attorney who can help guide them through the somewhat complex process of a military divorce.

Source: Military One Source, "Rights and Benefits of Divorced Spouses in the Military," accessed April 18, 2016

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