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Can a divorcing spouse serve a military spouse by mail?

Generally, no, but the question may be tied to jurisdiction and the location of the military spouse.

In a military divorce, jurisdiction -- the domicile and residence requirements -- may require the assistance of a lawyer who can determine if the civilian spouse’s home state has jurisdiction over a military partner.

If a spouse is, for example, stationed in Iraq, the civilian spouse cannot simply mail the complaint to him there. The complaint must come from the jurisdiction where the divorce will happen. Jurisdiction means that the courts in a state have the ability to try a case concerning particular individuals. For example, a court in New York has no jurisdiction to hear a case arising from a dispute in New Mexico if the parties have never been to New York. The dispute has nothing to do with New York, and New York has no interest in the case.

After the missing spouse has been located, a question of jurisdiction enters into the divorce. In general, when the military partner is in the United States
the serving of process and the question of jurisdiction are much easier than those cases when the military partner is overseas on an extended deployment where the protections of SCRA are more easily brought to bear.