Where You File: Does it Really Matter?

In a word, yes. It does matter where you file for your divorce. Most of the time, divorcing couples file in the county where they live without thinking of other options. However, military families are specifically prone to making the wrong decision when it comes to filing for divorce. Military couples are often from one state, married in another state, and may live in a third state. In some cases, they own property in another state altogether.

If you are in a military marriage and are seeking divorce, it's important to get a professional opinion before filing papers at a specific courthouse. Military couples often have to move around. Couples that have recently moved to a new place may not have had the time to establish residency. This means that they will have to wait several months before they can file in the state that they currently live in.

Attorneys say that divorcees need to file in a place where they actually lived. This means that they may have to file in a different state or county than what is on their tax forms. Also, just because a person has a home in a certain state does not mean that they can file for a divorce in that state if that is not where they have lived.

As well, military couples should keep in mind that where they get married has nothing to do with where they file for their divorce. Both spouses do not have to be able to establish residency in a jurisdiction in order to file for divorce there, and if one spouse objects to a jurisdiction then the divorce may need to be moved to a different state.

While trying to decide where to file, attorneys say that divorcees need to consider:

  • Where they vote
  • Where they pay taxes
  • What state is on their driver's license
  • What state is on their car title
  • What state they have a banking account in
  • What state they qualify for in-state college tuition in
  • What state they own property in
  • What state they go to church in
  • Whether or not they have established residency in

All of these things may not be in the same state, so it is often suggested that divorcees look at all these factors and pick the state where the majority of these things have taken place. If you want more information about choosing a state to file, talk with an attorney at our firm. We can help you to determine whether California is the right state for you to file your divorce in.