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Key differences between military divorce and civilian divorce

Military service is essential to the protection of our free nation, but active duty servicemembers may spend long periods away from their families. Lengthy deployments can cause strain on a marriage, and if a couple’s marriage is already rocky, could lead the spouse of the servicemember to file for divorce. Active duty servicemembers in California who find themselves in such situations have rights that protect their interests, even if they are currently not in California or if they are abroad. The following is an overview of some of these rights and protections.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Generally, if one spouse files for divorce, the other spouse must respond to the divorce filing within a certain time period. However, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, if the servicemember is able to prove they cannot attend a court or administrative proceeding because they are on active duty, the court or administrative proceeding may be postponed. In addition, they may be protected from a default judgment if they fail to respond to a divorce filing or fail to appear at trial.

Divorce when the servicemember is out of the country

If a servicemember is overseas, there are options for filing for divorce in the U.S. With regards to jurisdiction, divorce can be filed either in the state where the servicemember is station, the state where the servicemember is a legal resident or the state in which the servicemember’s spouse resides. These options make it easier for servicemembers or their spouses to file for divorce.

Military divorce differs from civilian divorce

These are only two ways in which military divorce differs from civilian divorce. This post is for informational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on military divorce may be of interest to servicemembers whose spouses have filed for divorce.