Are There Limits On Forum Shopping By The Spouse?

Yes, the FSPA has special jurisdictional requirements that must be met before a court has the power to treat retired pay as property. (This requirement is not present when the application made for an award of child support or spousal maintenance.)

The Act states in section 1408(c)(4):
A court may not treat the disposable retired or retainer pay of a member in the manner described (above) unless the court has jurisdiction over the member by reason of (A) his residence, other than because of military assignment, in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, (B) his domicile in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, or (C) his consent to the jurisdiction of the court.

This provision is one of the protections for the member in the Act, but few attorneys seem to consider this provision in planning the strategy for the case. It is much more restrictive that the usual state rules as to when a court has jurisdiction over a party to litigation, and it is vital that the attorney representing either party fully consider the implications of this rule.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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