Military Divorce 101

Members of our military are no strangers to complicated processes. Normal, everyday processes like buying a home or filing taxes as a service member are far more complicated than the process for ordinary civilians.

Based on this trend, you would rightfully not be surprised to find out that the process for military divorces is more complicated than normal divorce proceedings. If you or a loved one is going through a military divorce or are considering getting one, keep reading to learn more about what you should be expecting.

Where to File for Divorce

One factor making military divorces more complicated than civilian divorces is the wide variety of places available for the person initiating the divorce to file. If you are a military member or filing for divorce from a member of the military, you have the following options of places in which to file:

  • To file where the civilian individual lives
  • To file where the military member is stationed
  • To file where the military member is listed as residing

It is important to understand these options and choose the one that works the best for you and your situation if you are the one who is planning on filing for divorce.

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act provides protections to service members who are facing civil suits while serving in the military. As you can imagine, responding to a suit can become complicated when one is deployed or busy with military obligations. Usually, individuals served with divorce papers have a certain time period in which they must respond to the summons.

However, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act recognizes that it is often difficult for service members to respond and provides protections to military members in the event of a divorce filing.

If the service member is able to show that they are unable to attend court hearings or other divorce proceedings due to their service obligations, a postponement of a civil proceeding may be granted to the service member in question. In addition, there are certain protections for default judgments if the service member fails to respond to the suit or appear in court.

It is important to have a firm understanding of your protections under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act if you are a service member whose partner has initiated a divorce suit against you.
Filing for Divorce or Responding to a Divorce Suit

If you are considering filing for divorce or are needing to respond to a divorce lawsuit, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you are a service member or are filing for divorce from a service member, contact a law firm with knowledge of the military divorce process like the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq.

An attorney is the person most qualified to give you advice on where to file for divorce as well as to advise you of your or your partner’s rights under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act.