Can I Divorce My Military Spouse While They Are Deployed?
Divorce, under normal circumstances, can be complicated and hard to navigate. Adding a deployment and certain military protections into the mix can really add to the complexity. However, while your spouse being deployed does complicate the divorce process, it does not prevent it. If you are interested in pursuing a divorce and your spouse is in the military and currently deployed, there are certain intricacies and laws that apply. Ensuring that you have an experienced divorce lawyer who is familiar with how to navigate these requirements can make it much easier to move forward with the process in a productive way. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of filing for divorce while your spouse is deployed. The information presented here is intended to be general, but if you would like personalized feedback based on your specific case, you’re encouraged to call and schedule a consultation with the Birmingham, Alabama divorce lawyers at Peeples Law.
Complications with Divorcing a Deployed Spouse
While it is possible to file for divorce from your spouse while they are overseas, there are certain obstacles that you should be aware of. For instance, in a regular divorce, when one spouse files the divorce papers with the court, the other spouse must also be served with notice of this filing and a date when they must appear in court. The service of this notice must be completed and compliant with several constitutional requirements which all still apply when a spouse is deployed. It can be difficult to serve the papers on your spouse if they are in a dangerous or hard-to-reach location, or if their exact location is classified or unavailable. There also may be significant costs associated with having process served in a foreign country, particularly taking danger and difficulty of service into consideration.
Legal Protections to be Aware of When Serving a Deployed Spouse with Divorce Papers
It’s important to understand that while it is possible to serve a deployed spouse with divorce papers while they are overseas, due to service member protections, serving the papers may be as far as the process can progress while they remain deployed. This is because military members and service members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This law protects them from a divorce and other civil proceedings while they are deployed overseas. In a standard divorce, when a spouse is served with process, they will also be provided with notice of the court date and a request that they appear. This court date will generally be 30 days from the date on which they are served. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act gives servicemembers up to 90 days to respond to the notice, and they are protected from the divorce proceedings moving forward without them while they are out of the country. For this reason, even serving a military spouse with divorce papers while they are overseas, may not actually move the proceedings forward until after they return home. However, for some, taking this step is necessary, regardless of whether it is the only step taken until their spouse returns to the United States.
Talk to a Birmingham, Alabama Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering divorce, particularly to a deployed service member, the process can be complicated. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate it on your own. The experienced Birmingham divorce lawyers at Peeples Law are ready to help. Call today and schedule your personalized consultation.