Skip to main content

Overseas military divorce

Chicago, IL |

My spouse is active duty military and we are stationed overseas. I am not active duty. I want to file for a divorce and I will be asking for maintenance since I quit a job I had for 10+ yrs and left school with one yr left before earning my BA, to take care of his minor children full-time. (They have issues that require full-time care). I have no worked since he got custody of his kids. I know he will not want a divorce as it will affect his career and his finances. I also want to be able to divide the property we have, which is just household goods and vehicles. He has a friend who works at the legal office here on base, so I am not comfortable seeking help there. Since we live overseas, where would I file the paperwork or find an attorney? His state of legal residence is IL. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It is your filing, you would file in the state where you meet the requirements to file: in most cases that will be your state of legal residence. Some would argue that if you know you are going to live in state X after the divorce, you might consider establishing residency there and filing for divorce when you have qualified to file (frequently after six months of residency--depends on circumstances, sense of urgency, finances etc.

    Also, so what if your husband has a friend at the legal service office--if the office offers clinics on separation and divorce you would be foolish not to go and learn as much as you can. The "friend' may or may not know you are there, may or may not have an interest, That friend would be risking his/her professional reputation in the small legal support or JAG community if he/she spoke out of turn about what he/she knew. Also, if that friend is an attorney he/she would be killing a career to speak to your husband about your presence in the office.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


  2. Your husband will have the right to invoke the Servicemens Civil Relief Act, formerly known as the Soldlers and Sailors Act. If he does, your divorce will be delayed. Additionally, maintenance will not be automatic for you as there are many factors to be considered when awarding maintenance unless it it agreed upon. Furthermore, there is probably little that your local JAG office can do, even if your husband has a friend there, because those lawyers will defer to civilian attorneys in the state of residence. If you file in Illinois, you must be able to come here at least once to finalize your divorce, and perhaps several times if motions are heard. Your next step would be to consult with one or more attorneys in the county where either you or your husband reside and if you decide to proceed right now, hire the one you like best. Make sure your attorney is well versed in the special circumstances surrounding divorcing a member of the military.


  3. Follow Ms. Goldstein's advice. She's been very good in her advice to military people with divorce issues. Maybe she's in your county.

    www.court-martial.com; www.court-martial.us.com; mljucmj@gmail.com 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Family law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics