Being in the military is a challenge, whether you are stationed in the states or deployed abroad. It is a demanding and difficult career that puts a great deal of stress on you and your family. Unfortunately, due to the unique rigors of military life, you and your spouse may decide to divorce. If this decision comes while you are deployed overseas, a relatively straightforward process becomes complicated. Both you and your spouse need to work with attorneys who understand the law regarding divorce and deployment.
If you need representation while you are away, contact the DuPage County divorce lawyers of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. We can explain your rights during this time and help you weigh your options.
You Have the Right to Proper Service of Process
When you are deployed overseas and your spouse wants to move forward with a divorce, your spouse must properly serve you based on the laws of where you are currently deployed or a relevant international treaty. Service of process abroad can be tricky, but it is a legal requirement your spouse must fulfill. You should speak with an attorney to ensure the paperwork you receive was sent properly. If not, you will either need to waive process or have your spouse try again. If you also want the divorce or to make things easier for your spouse, you can waive formal service of process from the beginning.
You Can Waive Formal Service
To correctly waive service, your spouse must mail you an affidavit of waiver of service with a copy of the summons to court and divorce complaint. You sign the waiver in the presence of a notary who will put his or her seal on it and then you mail it back to your spouse. You should retain a copy. Your husband or wife needs to file the original with the court to prove your waived formal service and are aware of the divorce proceedings.
While waiving service can be a considerable favor for your spouse back in the states, it is important you have an attorney represent you within your home jurisdiction. You do not want to sign a waiver of service and then ignore what comes next. If you do not take additional steps to have your attorney appear in court or delay the proceedings, your divorce will move forward without you.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The SCRA enables you to delay your divorce while you are deployed so you can take part in the proceedings when you are back in the states. Your attorney will need to appear in court on your behalf, prove you are currently serving overseas making it impossible for you to participate in the proceedings, and ask the court to stay the divorce until a later time. You can usually delay the next court date to 60 days following your return from deployment.
You can easily prove your current service through the Defense Manpower Data Center website. Your attorney simply needs your name and social security number to pull a report from the website that will state your branch of service, beginning date of active service, and current active duty.
You May be Able to Divorce While Deployed
While a stay is important if you want to participate in the divorce, it is not obligatory. You can work with an attorney back home to represent you through a divorce while you are deployed. If you and your spouse are in agreement on all issues, do not have children or there are few assets to divide, you may feel comfortable letting the divorce proceed and participating from afar.
Call a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer for Help
It is important you know your spouse cannot simply move forward with a divorce in Illinois while you are deployed overseas. You have the right to participate in your divorce, either through legal representation or when you are back from your deployment. Call us at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. at 630-961-0060 to learn more about your rights.