Welcome! Today we are talking about establishing residency as a military spouse. It is a total pain in the butt to change your residency every time you move. I get it!
The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act amended the Service Member's Civil Relief Act which enabled service members to establish a state of residency where they choose, which they are allowed to keep regardless of orders sending them to another state.
What the means for mil spouses is that you may also share your service members home state of residency or where you are currently stationed. It makes it a little easier, but maybe not.
We also get into the tax implications for mil spouses and touch on the challenges of voting in different states. I hope you enjoy as we continue to learn more about the crazy military life we lead!
As always, I so appreciate you listening to the show!
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To get in touch with Alison....
[00:00:00] Hello. Hello. Welcome to today's show. This one's gonna be a, quick one. , I wanted to spend some time in season two to expand our education. How about that? Expand our military education on on different things because there's quite a few, I don't know about you, but for me, there's quite a few programs and things that I don't know anything about and I'm gonna use this podcast to educate myself.
[00:00:27] And then to also then share what I learn with you. Today's topic is talking about your state of residency. , with the military, and moving a lot. It is quite a pain to change your legal state of residence every single time that you move, and especially if you are only gonna be someplace for a year or, you know, it's just, it's, it's really a pain in the neck.
[00:00:54] In 2009, the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act amended the service member Civil Relief Act, which allows military spouses to maintain legal residents in the state where they lived before a PCs move with their active duty service member. and then it provides other protections to benefit military spouses.
[00:01:17] Every person has a legal state of residence, right? , but for most civilians, that state of legal residence is the place where they live. , but for service members and families, we move all the time, right? So what the service member Civil Relief Act allows is it allows active duty military members to maintain their legal state of residence in the place that they consider home.
[00:01:43] So if you are trying to make it as beneficial on your taxes as possible, Hopefully you are stationed in a state that does not have state income tax, like Florida or Washington State, and you can make one of those places your legal state of residence, so then you're not having to pay state taxes. So, If you've never been stationed at one of those places, then that's gonna be a little bit tricky for you to do.
[00:02:12] Because obviously in order to get a driver's license or register to vote, you have to show some proof of residency. So as a spouse, and this is the part that I didn't know, , I never really paid honestly a lot of attention. I did change my residency. Many times I've been a resident of many, many different states and registered to vote in many different states.
[00:02:38] And and honestly it's been really challenging because, you know, so for example, we, so I was originally, I mean, I grew up in Maryland, so I was a state, I was a resident there. And then I established a residency in South Carolina when I went to college. And then when we went to we were first station in California, .
[00:02:58] I changed my residency from South Carolina to California. And if you don't know this, if you end up getting stationed in California and you do change your, change your residency to there to get a driver's license in the state of California, regardless of if you've had a driver's license previously, you have to take the written test.
[00:03:15] Hello. That was fun. So I didn't realize I was gonna have to do that again. You have to study for that stuff, right? , it was a pain to get my license and everything in the state of California. So then when we moved to Florida, I'm, and I, we knew Florida was our short duty, that we were gonna go back to a ship, a ship outta San Diego.
[00:03:32] So I was like, I'm not giving up my California driver's license and whatnot for Florida, because I know we're going back to California. I don't wanna have to go through this whole thing again. So I did not. We were in Florida for three years and I never changed my residency.
[00:03:48] And and I, Okay, so here's the thing. There's nobody policing this, Okay? So like you, I mean, I guess you, you don't have to change your residency unless you get. Pulled over , which is what happened to me in Florida. So I got pulled over when we were stationed in Jacksonville and for like running a stop sign in our neighborhood or something.
[00:04:09] , I only got a warning, but anyways but I had my California driver's license and he was like, This, you need to change your driver's license to Florida. And I was like, But we're military. I don't have to do that. And he was like, Yes, you do . He's like, 30 days or 90 days, or I don't know, something like that.
[00:04:22] And I was like, No, that's not true because we're military. That is true . So as a military spouse, you are either a legal resident of your spouses. Legal, state of residence, or where you are currently stationed, those are your two options. For a lot of active duty military, they, however you choose where your legal state of residence is gonna be, you maintain that through all of your moves.
[00:04:51] So as a military, You would need to have your residency be the same as your spouses. So then you don't have to change it every time you move. Otherwise you are, you have to change it to where you're actually living at the. . And so I wasn't aware of that. And again, nobody's policing this unless like you get pulled over or something like that.
[00:05:11] And then they will say, Why do you not, Why do you have an OUTTA state driver's license? Where do you live? Whatever. But you know, so there's nobody that's doing that. But for voting purposes, it's a pain to like, I can't even remember where I'm registered to vote half the time. So if you really want to, And I think that.
[00:05:30] You know, we're all seeing how tough our, I we're, I'm not getting into politics on this show. That's not what the show is about, but I think we can all agree that there's a lot of challenges in the political environment right now. And I think that one of the best things that we can do as as citizens is to exercise our opinions by voting.
[00:05:51] So when you are not a legal resident of the state that you're currently in, obviously you can't vote there. So it's just a lot more work. You have to get a ballot or written ballot for wherever the state that you're in and then of. You know, you're voting on things like so far, you know, I'm registered to vote in Florida still, even though we've lived in Washington state, now we're in Colorado.
[00:06:16] And I actually can't do that because Michael's legal state of residence is Washington State. So I don't know how I would go about. Changing my residency to Washington State when we don't live there. So do we need to travel there to go get a driver's license and to do all that stuff? I don't know. So that's something to look into.
[00:06:34] But it's very challenging to be able to vote effectively when you are Well, that's another thing too, that I think is one of the things that's challenging about, you know, just being a military family, is that, is voting. You know, there's a lot of like judges and sheriffs and different, you know, agenda items for the specific areas that you're living in, and you.
[00:06:57] Or you're not? It's not, I don't know. Like I, I'm like, why do I care? I don't care who's who the judges are in Florida right now. I don't care about whatever because I'm not living there. So it's, you know, it's kind of one of those things, but it's all but so, sorry, what I, where I was trying to go with that is that I feel like that's one of the things that we kind of miss out on as military families is that it's hard to.
[00:07:25] Develop that community value and and really get a good feel on how your local government is being run and what you agree with and don't agree with in, in the different areas that you live. When you're, when you're only there for short term, you know, it's, it's really hard to, So I feel like. It, it just makes it more challenging to make a informed decision about how you want to vote on different issues when you know you're new to areas and you might not understand the ramifications of things or just the, you know, So I think that that's, that's one of the things that's a little bit tough.
[00:08:01] And then honestly, just voting period is, it's, it's again, you know, when you move all the time and you're changing your residency constantly, it's, it's really challenging. And then another part of that too is that if you, Okay, so as a military spouse, say for example our legal state of residence is Washington State.
[00:08:20] There is no state tax in Washington state, but we're now stationed in California. I am still required the military. Does not get taxed by the state of California. They are taxed by the state that is their legal residency. You as the spouse, however, are taxed by the state in which you are earning that income.
[00:08:42] Income. So it doesn't matter that I'm a legal resident of Washington State. If I am working and earning a wage in the state of California, I have to pay California taxes. So the only person that does not have to do that is the actual service member. It does not count for the spouse. And then as far as if you own your own business, that is a beast in and of itself.
[00:09:06] I am going to do a show or try to talk about that topic specifically. I know that there are other podcasts that talk about that more extensively, so I'm gonna do some research, try and find those resources that I will share with you. But I also know some business owners that have had to move their LLCs when they've moved states.
[00:09:26] And so I'm gonna reach out to them and see if I can get. Some really good, you know, nuts and bolts of this is what it takes, this is what it looks like, this is how messy it is. And you know, we've talked about before we've talked about licensure in different states. So when I was talking to Michelle Manz, who is the lawyer, That was in Washington state, but now is in California.
[00:09:46] , every time she moves she has to take the bar exam again in whatever state she's in. And that is, that is ridiculous. And it's, it just, it makes it, it's one more thing, one more challenge that you have to overcome as a military spouse. And I feel like we have enough challenges as it is, like, can we, can we level the playing field a little bit?
[00:10:06] And there are a lot of people that are working on that intrastate compact so that you don't have to do that with, And it's not. With with legal, there's, , with nursing and any, , massage there, anything in like the medical field that requires licensure that you would have to then reestablish when you, every time you move, which is just, you know, a total pain in the neck.
[00:10:27] , I will try to do another episode specifically around that kind of stuff. But anyways, I just thought that this was, this was interesting. , I did not know that I was required as a spouse to either have my service member state of record or where we're living at the time. So those are your two choices.
[00:10:47] I wasn't aware of that, so I wanted to dig into it a little bit and then relay the information to you. I have done that, so that's gonna be it for today, and I hope you have an awesome rest of your week, and I'll talk to you again next week.