how to divorce military spouse overseas

How Do I Divorce My Military Spouse Who is Stationed Overseas?

The logistics of divorce can be overwhelming, and that’s before you add in the fact that your spouse isn’t even in the same country. Military marriages can be tumultuous and full of unique challenges, and if you’ve arrived at the decision to divorce, you likely want to move forward as quickly as possible.

We are here to help you during this difficult time. To set up a consultation and discuss your options, call Coumanis & York at 251-990-3083.

Challenges of Military Marriages

Divorce rates in the military are slightly higher than divorce rates for civilians, with enlisted troops reporting considerably higher rates than officers. When you consider the difficulties posed by deployments, this may not come as much of a surprise.

No matter how strong a marriage is when both parties live together and see each other every day, going months without seeing each other and without regular, meaningful contact creates an environment where doubt flourishes. Some experts believe that the risk of divorce increases with each month that one spouse is away. Divorce rates are even higher for those deployed in areas with active combat.

People often feel shame when they choose to divorce a military spouse. However, you’re not alone. The military puts enormous stress on relationships, and divorce is inevitable in some cases.

Beginning the Process with an Attorney

If you choose to divorce your military spouse while they’re overseas, you’ll need to plan for additional hurdles. First, get familiar with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Under the SCRA, servicemembers can enjoy protection against civil proceedings. It protects servicemembers from going to court for divorce while overseas by allowing them to request a 90-day extension. This gives military spouses time to explore their options and prevents them from being blindsided by divorce paperwork while serving their country overseas.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically be able to move forward with the divorce after a 90-day waiting period. In fact, you may have to wait until your spouse returns to the United States, depending on the circumstances of their deployment. If your spouse is deployed in a classified area where their specific location cannot be determined, you may not even be able to have them served with papers.

Waiting Until After Deployment

If the additional challenges posed by an overseas divorce are too time-consuming for you, you may consider waiting until after your spouse’s deployment is complete. While this does require you to be married for a longer period of time, it may make the actual divorce process quicker once your spouse returns to the country.

However, don’t automatically assume you have to wait until your spouse’s deployment is over. If they are in a safe area without active combat, you may be able to get the process rolling and limit direct contact with your spouse.

Standard Divorce Proceedings

With the exception of the delays caused by a deployment and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the rest of your divorce proceedings should go as they do in every other divorce. Your military spouse will be able to request help from legal assistance attorneys, although these attorneys can generally not represent them during the actual divorce. The military does require its members to provide proper support for their children, which may make the process of getting child support easier.

It’s crucial to be represented by a skilled and experienced divorce attorney throughout this entire process. No matter how amicable the process may seem at the beginning, any type of disagreement can drive up the pressure and lead to contention. There’s a lot at stake in a divorce, from the division of assets to child custody and child support. You absolutely need an attorney with substantial experience in military divorce who will fight for your best interests.

Discuss Your Options with Coumanis & York

If you’ve decided that divorce is your best option, ensure that you have the support you need to make this process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. The team at Coumanis & York can help you fight for what you deserve and assist you as you prepare to start a new chapter in life. Set up a consultation now by giving us a call at 251-990-3083 and reaching out to our team online.

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