You know that you want to get a divorce, but there’s one problem. Your spouse is in the military and they are currently deployed. They’re thousands of miles away.
You’re worried that this means you’re not going to be able to initiate the divorce. How do you serve your spouse with the divorce petition? Do you have to wait for them to return? If so, does that mean that you’re trapped in a marriage you want to leave as long as your spouse is deployed? You can see how concerning this situation can be, and you need to know what steps to take.
You can still file for divorce
First and foremost, you can certainly still file for divorce even when your spouse is deployed. You’re not prohibited from doing so, and you can initiate this process. It’s also wise to use this time to begin gathering documentation and taking other steps to get what you want out of the divorce.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
That said, members of the military are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This means that they can ask for an extension of up to 90 days so that they don’t have to respond to your divorce petition immediately. This can delay the process, but it doesn’t mean you can’t initiate the divorce. It just means that the deadlines might end up being a bit further out than they would have been if your spouse was in the United States.
Furthermore, the actual divorce proceedings generally cannot take place until your spouse returns. It would be unfair to them to have the court case play out while they are still deployed. Once again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t initiate the process or get started, but you also can’t finalize the divorce until your spouse has returned.
Working through the process
This type of divorce can be much more complicated than a divorce between two civilians. Make sure you are well aware of all of the legal steps that you’ll need to take, the obligations that you have and the options at your disposal.