Can You Get Divorced While Deployed?

By Beverly Bird

If you want a divorce, the fact that you're deployed doesn't necessarily have to stop you, although it may make the process logistically more difficult. If your spouse files, however, and you're overseas, the federal government has your back. Under the terms of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you can put off dealing with the divorce, at least for a while.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The SCRA grants you the right to have your spouse's case stayed or delayed until a more appropriate time if she files for divorce while you're deployed. Even if she manages to have you served with divorce papers, you can then contact a lawyer stateside to alert the local court of your being on active duty. As such, you can't reasonably defend yourself in the divorce. The court can't order a final judgment while you're deployed, although it may issue temporary orders. The SCRA doesn't avoid the divorce entirely or forever; the proceedings will resume when you're able to participate. You usually only have this option if you haven't made an appearance in the case. This means you're not the spouse who filed for divorce in the first place and you haven't answered your spouse's divorce papers by filing a response.

If You Want the Divorce

If you want a divorce and can find a willing and knowledgeable attorney in the states to handle it for you, you can usually proceed. This is somewhat dependent on individual state laws, and it's usually easiest if your divorce is uncontested, meaning you and your spouse aren't in dispute over anything, such as custody or division of property. You can handle a great many details by affidavit or sworn statements and keep in touch with your attorney via email.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Responding to a Summons & Complaint Divorce in Texas
 

References

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Can Divorce Papers Be Served to a Post Office Box?

You can't get a divorce until the court is sure that your spouse is aware of the proceedings. Therefore, you must serve her with a copy of your petition. The rules for how you can do this vary somewhat from state to state. Many jurisdictions allow you to mail your spouse a copy of your divorce papers. If you are serving her by mail, using a post office box usually isn't prohibited if this is how she regularly gets her mail delivered, as long as you can prove that she actually received the divorce paperwork.

What if My Wife in New York State Refuses to Divorce Me?

Until 2010, if you lived in New York and your wife refused to divorce you, she could have complicated the situation considerably by contesting your grounds. This changed when the state adopted the concept of no-fault divorce. Now you need only tell the court that your marriage isn't working out anymore – and your wife can't stop the proceedings. However, that might not stop her from trying.

Do it Yourself Divorce in Washington State

Though attorneys can be helpful when it's time to end your marriage, you can file your own divorce papers in Washington State. Completing the process yourself can help you save money and time, particularly if your divorce is not complex. You can obtain many of the necessary forms from your local court, or you can use an online legal document service to prepare and file your paperwork.

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