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Can divorce begin while my spouse is on active military duty?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Military Divorce

Having a spouse in the military presents unique challenges, which may be further complicated when stressors like a potential divorce arise. If you find yourself contemplating divorce while your partner is on active duty, it’s essential to know the specific rules and regulations that apply, especially as a civilian married to someone in the military.

Filing for military divorce in Georgia

In Georgia, certain requirements determine your eligibility to file for divorce. For instance, if you meet Georgia residency requirements, you can file for divorce and initiate the proceedings. However, the situation changes when it involves military personnel. You might be unable to proceed with the divorce due to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This Act can delay the proceedings if your spouse is on active duty. Additionally, serving the divorce complaint can become more complex if your spouse is on deployment. In such situations, your spouse must consent to being served by the military, introducing another layer of complexity.

How the SCRA can affect your divorce

The SCRA is a federal law that aims to provide certain protections to individuals serving in the military. This law recognizes that active duty may prevent servicemembers from fully participating in legal proceedings, including divorce. Also, it allows for a “stay” or delay of these proceedings during active duty. If your spouse cannot respond to court proceedings due to service demands, they can request this stay, which can last up to 90 days or longer if granted by the court. 

Active duty and divorce proceedings

It is possible for you to file a divorce complaint while your spouse is on active duty, but the SCRA’s protective provisions may pause the proceedings. Understanding these regulations is crucial. Because the process of a military divorce can be confusing, you could consult with an attorney to determine how you can better approach a military divorce.

From offices in Augusta-Richmond County we serve clients in neighboring communities including Grovetown, Thomson, Waynesboro, Harlem, Lincolnton, and Wrens. Beyond Augusta we handle cases in Columbia County, Burke County, McDuffie County, Lincoln County and Wilkes County. We also proud to represent military families and veterans from Fort Gordon, Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem.