The stress faced by military families, frequent moves and deployments can spell disaster for military families. For you, as for most families, divorce can be a life tragedy. You and your spouse entered into marriage with plans for a happy and long future. Perhaps you have children who are young and vulnerable. Divorce can leave your children feeling afraid and uncertain about their future. It can also leave you feeling vulnerable and lost, particularly if you are far from home, without the support of friends and family.
A frequent question asked by military spouses is whether they have to file for divorce in the State where they are based and their children are living, or whether they can file in Michigan. This is particularly true when Michigan is the place they call "Home."
People do not lose their residency in Michigan just because they are in the military. Thus, no matter where you are stationed, whether on a base in the United States or abroad, if Michigan is your home, you can file for divorce in Michigan.
Residency is a matter of intent. Some indicia of intent are:
- Do you and your spouse have a Michigan driver's license?
- Are you registered to vote in Michigan?
- Do you own real estate in Michigan?
- Do you have personal property that is stored in Michigan?
If you can answer yes to some of these questions, you can prove your intent to retain Michigan as your home state.
This question becomes even more important if you are stationed abroad. You cannot get a divorce in a foreign country when you are not a citizen of the country. If you've continued to call Michigan "Home," however, you can get a divorce in Michigan.
There are other issues of concern to military families where divorce is contemplated. For more information, see Jeanne Hannah's website.