Is a Soldier Stationed in Texas a Resident?
One of the critical requirements of getting an uncontested divorce or collaborative divorce in The Woodlands is that at least one of the parties has been a resident of Texas for at least six months before the divorce petition is filed with the Court. It can get tricky to determine if the residency requirement is met when one or both of you is in the military and have been moving around. In a recent case an Appellate Court took the time to review how the residency requirement applies to military service members currently or previously stationed in Texas.
In this case, the Wife made several arguments to support her claim that her Husband had established the residency required to get divorced in Texas. Her arguments were:
- The Wife claimed Husband became a domiciliary of Texas when he lived in San Antonio for military training in 1992 and again from 1995-1996.
- Wife asserted Husband took steps to change his legal residence to Texas when he designated Texas as his residence on his military leave and earnings statement.
- Wife claimed Husband told her he intended to return to Texas once he retired, and that once he be came a domiciliary of Texas in 1992, his subsequent absence due to military service did not change his domicile.
The Court was not persuaded by these arguments. The Court relied on the following facts to conclude that the Husband did not establish residency in Texas:
- Husband only lived in Texas while he was temporarily stationed there.
- Since the couple married in 1995, Husband had been stationed in Korea, Virginia, and Germany.
- Although Wife asserts that Husband claimed he was going to return to Texas, Husband denied ever saying this. Even if Husband had in fact said he was going to return to Texas, his intent would not be enough without an accompanying act showing his intent.
The Court stressed a person must have intent to establish a permanent domicile in Texas accompanied by some act done in execution of their intent in order to meet the residence requirement. A soldier does not acquire a domicile in Texas merely by being stationed in Texas. A soldier’s domicile remains the same as when he or she entered the service, unless proof of clear and unequivocal intention to change domicile is shown.
If you need a Woodlands Divorce Attorney then call me at (832) 592-7913 to schedule an appointment or fill out the form to the right of the screen. If you would like additional information about getting divorced in The Woodlands, download my free guide to Divorce in The Woodlands.
In re Green, 2012 WL 3985091 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2012).