Where does a serviceperson far from home file?

“I’ve been stationed outside Florida for several years now. The state where I’m stationed takes forever to give a divorce. Can I get it in Florida?”

This question comes up more and more due to current world events.

By statute, Florida will not grant a divorce unless one of the spouses has “resided” in Florida for at least six months. Florida courts have consistently held that residing means exactly what it sounds like, that is, actually living in Florida.

That would seem to leave the serviceperson stationed outside Florida out of luck.

But the Florida courts have consistently put a gloss on the term “reside” for established, genuine Florida residents called out of state by military service. In other words, as long as they actually resided in Florida immediately prior to being called to duty out of state, they will still be considered as Florida residents.

So the serviceperson stationed outside Florida may file for divorce in Florida. And if the divorce is fairly amicable, it may even be workable to get a divorce that way.

But if the divorce is hotly contested and the other spouse actually lives in Florida, the serviceperson spouse really may want to re-think the advisability of filing in Florida while stationed elsewhere. It may put the serviceperson at a strategic disadvantage unnecessarily .