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Divorcing on deployment: What to do when your spouse isn’t available for court

| Jun 4, 2021 | Divorce |

If you want to get a divorce and your spouse is deployed, it can be a difficult task. For the most part, judges are not going to allow the divorce to move forward when the deployed military member is away.

The Service Members Civil Relief Act may affect divorce proceedings if your spouse is deployed when you file for divorce. This act helps protect deployed service members from having to worry about, and handle, civil obligations to a divorce while they’re working and deployed. The reason for this act is to let service members to focus in their work without having to worry about missing court dates or having automatic rulings in their spouse’s favor. It’s a protective act, but it does slow down divorces.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides protection to deployed individuals

This act only applies to those who are deployed and working. It prevents divorce or custody cases from going through court without the deployed military personnel being available unless a court order is established.

Can you take action if you think your spouse isn’t deployed?

If you want to seek a military divorce and believe that your spouse is not deployed, then you should obtain proof. You can do this through the Defense Manpower Data Center database search. Why do this? If you can show that your spouse is not on active duty and that they did not appear for a hearing, then the court may automatically rule in your favor. Every situation is different, but having proof of whether your spouse is or is not deployed is key in some cases.

What can you do if your spouse isn’t available due to deployment?

If your spouse isn’t available because of deployment, then your only option may be to wait for them to return. You can work with your own attorney to put together your case and start your separation while your spouse is away. Once they return from active duty, then you will be able to move forward with the divorce, since they will be available to handle the divorce case without having it influence their military service in a negative way.