I Want A Divorce, But My Spouse Is Deployed
Divorcing is a momentous decision, and deserves to be discussed extensively before deciding to take the plunge. However, once two people have discussed the possibility, the impetus to act fast can be hard to ignore. Sometimes, one spouse may want to file for divorce even while their servicemember spouse is deployed overseas. It is possible to file the papers, but what many do not know is that the divorce will not be finalized until after their spouse can be present for the process.
Servicemembers Can Force A Delay
Deployment is a serious undertaking, requiring all of a person’s focus and concentration. Because of this, the U.S. judicial system has seen fit to insulate servicemembers from several forms of potential civil liability and lawsuit, such as eviction suits and any kind of default judgment, through a law known as the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Divorce does fall under the SCRA’s purview, because while one spouse can file a petition for divorce anytime, the servicemember spouse will almost certainly be unable to respond, and when a respondent cannot answer a petition, the petitioner usually obtains a default judgment against the other party. The stakes are far too high in most divorces to allow this pattern to reoccur just because one spouse is deployed.
Preparation Is Best
Because of the SCRA, a deployed servicemember is protected from default judgments for the time they are deployed plus 90 days after discharge (if an extension is obtained). This can seem unfair, but being deployed overseas can be a position of peril; the law holds that a servicemember’s responsibility should be on their duties, rather than personal matters.
If you are intent on a divorce, you can still prepare while your spouse is deployed. It can be a good idea to draw up lists of marital assets and debts, as well as accounting for all the property acquired during your marriage. Florida is an equitable distribution state for purposes of divorce, meaning that assets are divided in the fairest way possible, rather than 50-50 as in other states.
Contact A Hollywood, FL Military Divorce Attorney
It can be difficult to wait for your spouse to return from deployment before beginning divorce proceedings, but the law generally requires it. If you want to prepare your case in the meantime, contacting a Hollywood family attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. may help you with that goal. Call our office today at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.