A military divorce is a complex process, especially when a spouse is on active duty.
Some legal protections for active military members, like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, can further complicate and potentially delay the divorce process.
What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?
Congress enacted the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 to allow active-duty military members to focus on their service duties instead of civil responsibilities. The SCRA protects service members by affording them the legal right to delay certain obligations at home while engaged in active duty.
Who does the SCRA protect?
The SCRA covers all active duty members and reservists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. It also protects some mobilized members of the National Guard and commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Is delayed divorce a provision of the SCRA?
The SCRA allows active-duty service members to ask for a postponement, or stay, of divorce proceedings until they are free to deal with the matter in person. Eligible servicemembers can receive a stay of 90 days or more to allow them time to get their affairs in order. This act also gives military members the opportunity to reopen default divorce judgments that took place when they were unable to defend themselves.
While the SCRA exists to help servicemembers fulfill their military duties without worry over civil obligations, this act may also complicate divorce proceedings for spouses who wish for a quick divorce.