Can I Divorce My Spouse if They are Deployed?
There are no ideal circumstances for divorce. Even under objectively “good” conditions, divorce can be a complex and emotionally complicated process. However, if your spouse is in the military and stationed overseas, this may add a number of obstacles to navigating the divorce process. While a deployed spouse definitely complicated the process, it does not make it impossible. In this article, we will review the reality of filing for divorce while your spouse is overseas so that you can assess whether it is the right option for you. While the information in this article is intended to be general, you are encouraged to contact Miami’s SG Firm to schedule a personalized consultation and receive professional feedback based on your unique facts and circumstances.
Challenges When Filing for Divorce From Deployed Spouse
In any divorce, the spouse who files is also required to serve notice of their filing to their spouse. This notice includes a court date that their spouse must appear for, as well as the nature of the filing. There are several requirements that must be met in order for this service of process to be considered constitutional. If the requirements are not met, the case cannot move forward as the other party is said to have lacked the adequate notice of the legal proceedings to which they are legally entitled. These requirements are not waived or altered when one spouse is in the military or overseas. This can result in significant challenges. It can be hard to serve adequate process on someone if their exact position is confidential, if they are off grid, or if they are in a foreign or highly desolate or dangerous area. This could result in a great deal or expense, or even a complete inability to properly serve notice on your spouse. However, if you are able to overcome these challenges, your spouse can be served with your divorce papers while they are deployed overseas.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Another challenge and consideration when choosing whether to initiate divorce proceedings while your spouse is deployed, is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This Act protects servicemembers from having any civil matters ruled against them while they are deployed on the basis that they did not appear. This Act gives servicemembers an extended period of time, up to 90 days, to respond to divorce papers once they receive them, and allows them to postpone or stall the proceedings, including any court appearances, until they are back in the United States. This means that you may go through all the trouble of serving your spouse with divorce papers only to have the process grind to a halt. However, for some, taking that initial step of filing and serving the papers is significant enough that it is worth the effort regardless of how it ultimately affects the timeline.
Talk to a Florida Family Law Attorney
Getting a divorce from a deployed member of the military is likely to be a complicated process, so it is best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the experienced Family Law Attorneys at the SG Law Firm today and schedule a consultation.