Can Divorces Happen During Military Deployment?

Posted by Gordon Shayne | Apr 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

If you're deployed, your life is still going on both where you are and at home. Unfortunately, this may mean some relationships are still beginning or ending, including your relationship with your spouse, even though you're not physically present with them.

Naturally, you may feel as if you cannot get a divorce while you are deployed and you have to wait until you return home. However, that's actually not true. Depending on your situation, you may be able to get divorced even though you are deployed with the help of an experienced attorney in Florida.

We have represented several Armed Force members who were stationed at different places all over the world during their divorces using email, telephone and other secure means of communication to stay in touch with our clients at all times and keep them fully informed of what is going on in their cases.

Consulting a Divorce Lawyer Should be Your First Step

You may be nervous about consulting with an attorney at first, but you don't have to be. A consultation is much like a job interview, but you're the employer here, not the interviewee! Simply having a consultation with an attorney doesn't automatically mean you have to hire that specific attorney or file any court paperwork.

The consultation length will vary by case, but it can take around one hour and it's well worth it. During the consultation, you'll be able to learn how a divorce works in your state from someone who has firsthand knowledge, and you'll also be able to ask some questions and get an idea of the upsides and downsides of your specific case. This can be done via email or phone, depending on your preferences, although many people opt for phone when possible as it makes it easier to ask questions, relay information and air concerns.

If you find you are not confident in and/or comfortable with the attorney you are speaking to, schedule another consultation with a different attorney. You are at the research and information phase of your search, so you should not be stressed or pressured into doing something immediately.

Take Care of Yourself

As a military member, you still have access to support during deployment. Speak to trusted friends and family via telephone, email or online as you prepare yourself for divorce. Divorce can bring a lot of emotional issues with it, and you are already in a situation that may be full of stress due to being away from home and your network of family and friends. Reach out to them and begin to build yourself a solid support network that you can access even though you're not near them physically. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also speak to your Installation's chaplain as they are trained as counselors, or you can reach out to the Military and Family Life Counseling Program.

We Can Help You With Your Case, No Matter Where You Are

We work with military service members who are deployed to help them obtain a divorce, and we have experience in this area. For example, in the past, we have filed motions in court to ask that a deployed service member be allowed to appear via telephone for a court hearing. This allows you to make the necessary appearances in court despite the fact that you may not be able to physically be in the courtroom.

Even if you and your spouse have children together, you still might be able to get divorced while you are deployed. You and your spouse may be able to reach agreements regarding the children and marital property via your respective attorneys and formalize them even if you are not at home. You can get a copy of the relevant agreements, sign them once you have reviewed them, and have your attorney file them in court with an “affidavit of nonappearance.” This affidavit is a document that says both you and your spouse wish to have the court finalize the divorce and accept the agreements you've made without either one of you appearing in court. This route is usually an option for spouses who are able to come to an agreement on the major issues together without needing the court to make decisions for them.

If you believe you and your spouse can reach agreements without having to ask a judge to interfere, your respective attorneys can help you with the agreement creation and formalization process. This is generally in everyone's best interests as it will take less time and be less expensive than having to go to court and have a judge make major decisions for you. Spouses are usually more satisfied with agreements they were able to come to on their own than with decisions made by a judge.

Naturally, there are some situations in which a court will not be able to issue your final divorce document while you are deployed. This tends to come up with the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, which is legislation that prevents a person from taking legal action before a judge when a military service member is deployed and objecting to the action. If you are in this situation, where your spouse has filed for divorce while you are deployed, you should speak to a divorce lawyer about your case as soon as you can to ensure all your rights and interests are protected.

Divorce is complex enough on its own, and when the military and a spouse's deployment are factored into the mix, it can get even more confusing for just about everyone involved. However, with an experienced attorney by your side, you can navigate the process fully informed and with expert legal advice available to you any time you need to make a decision. A divorce will have a lasting impact on your personal and financial lives for years to come, so you can't afford to leave anything about it to chance, especially when you are deployed and also trying to stay focused on your duties as a military service member.

About the Author

Gordon Shayne

Gordon N. Shayne Family Law / Divorce Lawyer Phone: (904) 544-6855 Gordon N. Shayne's field of practice is devoted to Family Law/Divorce case throughout the State of Florida


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With over 35 years of experience, Mr. Shayne has had a legal career fighting for the rights of his clients while focusing his practice exclusively on Divorce, Child Custody and other Family Law Matters. Our services are available throughout the State of Florida.

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