I have a jurisdiction question about where to file for divorce if I am active duty military stationed overseas.
My wife cheated on me while we were on base so I want to file in a state that has grounds for adultery because I don’t think she should be able to get half of my retirement and other favorable results as a result of her infidelity.
I enlisted in one state, I’ve lived in another state, and my children were born in another state so I’ve never really had a “home state.”
Where should I file? If I file for divorce first does that bind her to that state or can she file in another state?
I am only licensed to practice law in Illinois so I cannot offer legal advice on divorce on the laws in other states. However, I can provide you with a general overview regarding divorce laws and jurisdiction issues.
The jurisdiction and residency requirements for filing for divorce vary from state to state. Where I practice (in Illinois), you may file for divorce if you or your spouse resides in Illinois, or if you or your spouse is stationed in Illinois, for at least 90 days before the final Judgment of Dissolution is entered.
Therefore, you can file for divorce before you have satisfied the 90-day requirement, as long as you or your spouse have resided in Illinois for at least 90 days by the time the final judgment is entered.
Even if you file for divorce first, your wife can file a Petition in another state, and object to the jurisdiction of the state where you file. In that situation, the courts would have to determine which state has jurisdiction over the parties.
If there are minor children and child custody is at issue, the courts may determine that the state where the children currently reside is the proper state to have jurisdiction over the divorce.
Where the divorce is filed will have a significant impact on how the case proceeds, because the issues of child support, child custody, alimony and property distribution are governed by the laws of the state where the divorce is filed.
Illinois is also a no-fault state, meaning that marital misconduct is not considered when the court decides issues such as property distribution and maintenance. Therefore, your spouse’s misconduct would have no impact on the court’s decision to divide your military retirement, order spousal maintenance, or divide marital property.
Jurisdictional and military divorce issues are complicated, and you should contact an experienced mens divorce attorney, such as the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell & Cordell, to discuss the issues involved and determine in which state you may be able to file for divorce.
To schedule an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Erin Brockhoff, an Associate Attorney in the Belleville, Illinois office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.