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Military divorce: Get protection you need while on active duty

Going through a divorce is difficult, especially when you're also in the military. You have your own concerns to deal with on the job, and you may not be with your spouse often. The idea of having to make time for court may seem impossible.

One of the most important acts for military members who are deployed is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. It protects servicemembers' rights while they're deployed on active duty.

With this act, you can ask for a stay or postponement. This will help prevent any civil court or adminstrative proceeding from taking place when you are not able to attend due to your duties in the millitary. You will also be given protections against default judgments as a result of being unable to appear in court or being unable to respond to a lawsuit.

Divorce is a private civil matter

The military recognizes that divorce is a private civil matter. However, you and your spouse may be able to seek military legal assistance and should retain attorneys separately. This guarantees that you both receive independent, confidential advice and that there is no conflict of interest caused by sharing an attorey. For representation in a civil court, you will need to hire a civilian attorney. Some items they can handle include:

  • Retirement pay
  • Child custody concerns
  • Spousal support
  • Child support

What should you do if you were married overseas?

Although you have the right to get a divorce in the country where you were married, it is usually easier to file in the United States. You can file for divorce where you are currently stationed, where the nonmilitary spouse lives or where the military member claims legal residency.

If you plan to go through a military divorce, you may need to work with a number of different legal professionals. If you are on active duty, don't be afraid to look into the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and to ask your attorney to stop any court proceedings from taking place until you have the time to focus on the divorce.

The work you do is important, and you need to be able to focus on it instead of worrying about a court date. When you are no longer on active duty, the case can become active once again, so that you and your spouse can resolve the situation and finalize your divorce in Washington in a timely manner.

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