Virginia Divorce Military Retirement Plan Jurisdiction Lawyers Attorney


Atchuthan Sriskandarajah

Samuel Stevenson V. Jane Stevenson


Plaintiff wife sued defendant husband for divorce. The husband, who was in the Marine Corps, challenged subject matter and personal jurisdiction. After an ore tenus hearing, the trial court found that it had jurisdiction. The husband filed an answer and cross-bill. The Circuit Court for the County of Chesterfield (Virginia) entered judgment, granting the wife a


and a portion of the husband’s military retirement plan. The husband appealed. The husband asserted that neither party was a resident or domiciled in Virginia.



Whether the trial court erred in finding that it possessed subject matter jurisdiction on the grounds that wife qualified as a bona fide resident and domiciliary of Virginia for the requisite time period?


This court held that a wife could establish a domicile separate from that of her husband. The trial court considered all of the evidence, and concluded that the wife previously established Virginia as her domicile and left Virginia only as a temporary sojourn to accompany her husband to his next duty station. Upon learning of his continuing infidelity, she returned to her domicile. There was no error in the trial court’s finding that the wife satisfied both the domiciliary and residency requirements of Va. Code Ann. 20-97. The husband was personally served when he came to Virginia to see his children. There was no deceit or trickery, as the wife was forthright in her intention to seek a divorce and maintain custody. The award of 50 percent of the

marital portion

of the husband’s military retirement plan was proper, under 10 U.S.C.S. 1408(c), as the husband consented to the jurisdiction of the court by seeking affirmative relief. In his cross-bill, he sought an equitable division of the marital estate. After doing so, he could not exclude his retirement pay from the court’s jurisdiction.


This court hence affirmed the judgment of the circuit court.


These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm s unofficial views of the Justices opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content

Atchuthan Sriskandarajah is a Virginia lawyer and owner of the SRIS Law Group. The SRIS Law Group has offices in Virginia, Maryland,


, New York, North Carolina & California. The firm handles criminal/traffic defense, family law, immigration & bankruptcy cases.

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