Military Deployment and Divorce
When a military service member receives orders for overseas mobilization or deployment, and leaves the United States for an extended period of time, there are legal remedies available to prevent a disgruntled spouse from taking all of the property and relocating with the children. Since the Code of Military Justice does not have jurisdiction over parties’ going through a Divorce or Legal Separation, these kinds of cases are left to the civilian authorities in all 50 states. Each state has a set of statutes or laws that address the process that will be followed when military members are involved in these kinds of cases.
A military spouse, who has knowledge prior to a deployment or mobilization that his or her spouse wants to separate or terminate the marriage, should immediately consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney, before he or she leaves the country. In the state of Colorado, a military member may want to file for Legal Separation or Dissolution of Marriage in order to prevent the other party from taking all of the marital property, assets and emptying out the bank accounts. When a Legal Separation or Dissolution of Marriage case is filed, it is filed with an Automatic Injunction provision as part of the Summons that prohibits this kind of misconduct. If the stateside spouse has violated the Summons, the Court can issue sanctions against the offending spouse.
On many occasions, after a military spouse is on a deployment, he or she discovers that the stateside spouse has “wiped out the bank accounts” and moved away with the children. In those cases, it would be advisable to immediately file for either a Dissolution of Marriage or a Legal Separation so that the court can acquire jurisdiction over the parties, their property and the minor children. In this way, the offending parent would be placed on notice that removing marital funds and relocating with the children will result in court action. A strict accounting of monies removed from bank accounts may be ordered by the judge, and as the case progresses, those monies may be counted as payment against future child support or spousal maintenance. When a parent wrongfully removes a child from Colorado, to take advantage of the absent military spouse, Court’s will have to make a determination as to the “best interests of the minor children” before ordering that the children be returned to Colorado.
Obviously, it is much more difficult to file a legal proceeding while on a military deployment than it is to file a case while the military member is stateside. An aggressive and experience Family Law Attorney can file appropriate motions and seek sanctions against a spouse who violates Court Orders to protect a service member serving abroad.
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