Can Divorce Occur When One Spouse Is Deployed Overseas?

As a member of the military, you know that deployments and other military situations may place enormous strain on your marriage. Whether you are on active duty in North Carolina or deployed overseas, military life may become overwhelming for your spouse and cause him or her to decide to end the marriage. Divorce proceedings are often complicated, and you may worry about your spouse filing for divorce and applying for child custody while you are serving away from home. Fortunately, certain military regulations may help you protect yourself from losing everything in a divorce. 

According to Military One Source, you have certain rights and protections as a member of the United States Armed Forces. Some of these protections apply specifically to divorce. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act helps protect your legal rights while you are serving on active duty. Provisions in the SCRA may help prevent you from certain legal consequences during an overseas deployment or while on active duty orders. 

If your spouse decides to file for divorce, the law typically requires you to respond within a certain time frame. However, under the SCRA, you may apply for a legal “stay,” which places a hold on the legal proceedings for a certain amount of time. If you apply for a stay, you must be able to prove that you are unable to respond to legal proceedings or appear in court due to your active duty status. The stay may protect you from the penalties that could accompany your “failure” to respond to a lawsuit and may make it possible for you to actively participate in child custody negotiations. 

This general information on military divorce is intended to be educational; it should not be interpreted as legal advice. 

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