What Happens If My Spouse Files for Divorce While I’m Deployed?
Having a spouse in the military and on deployment can cause a significant strain on a marriage, and for some spouses it can simply be too much. But what happens when one spouse files for divorce while the other spouse is deployed on active duty? Military divorces differ from traditional divorces in a few ways, so it is important to know what protections are in place for the military spouse. To learn more, contact a Tampa military divorce attorney today.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects servicemembers from divorce and other civil matters while on active deployment. It allows a petition for a civil action, like divorce, to be postponed until the servicemember returns from active duty so that the military member’s full attention can remain focused on their mission. Under this Act, if you are served with divorce papers while on deployment, you can request that the divorce process be delayed until you return from service. In addition, the SCRA allows for you to request a ninety day postponement on the proceedings so that you can have an opportunity to secure quality legal services and gather everything you need in order to be on equal footing with your spouse in the divorce process.
This Act and the postponement are also incredibly helpful to servicemembers because of the other complications that can arise with military divorces. Military pensions fall under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act and other benefits follow strict rules for distribution and division between spouses. This is in addition to the other property distribution, spousal support, child custody, and child support decisions that must be made between spouses before a divorce can be finalized.
Filing a Power of Attorney
Another option for servicemembers serving abroad is a power of attorney form. This is particularly helpful if you are considering filing for divorce yourself while serving on deployment. A power of attorney allows another person to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf when you are unable to be in person and make them yourself. If you give the direction to your power of attorney, that person can also handle some of the divorce process for you while you are away, regardless of who filed the divorce petition. Your power of attorney can gather your financial documents, get property appraised, and prepare everything that you will need to move forward in the process once you return. The person named as your power of attorney has a considerable amount of power in your name while you are away, so you should only choose someone that you trust with your financial and legal affairs to serve in this capacity.
Talk to Our Office Now
Getting divorced on top of military deployment is an incredibly stressful and emotional experience, but you do not have to go through it alone. Call the office or contact us today at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa today to schedule a free consultation of your case.