Military Divorce

Filing a Case Against a Member of the Military Service

The Federal Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects service members from a spouse who file for divorce while the service member is on active duty. If your spouse falls under the protection of the SCRA, you may be temporarily prevented (for 90 days) from moving forward with your divorce action unless your spouse signs a waiver of his/her rights under the Act.

Before obtaining a default judgment against a member of the military service, you must provide an affidavit stating your spouse is not an active service member. If your spouse is an active service member, the court will appoint an attorney for your spouse, who will ask for a stay (delay) in the proceedings to determine if your spouse falls under the Act.

If a court orders a default judgment when your spouse is in active service, a court will reopen the judgment if the judgment was made during the defendant's military service or within 60 days thereafter; if the service member's ability to defend the case was materially affected by the military service; or if the service member has a meritorious or legal defense; and the application to reopen is made during military service or within 90 days after your spouse left the military service.

50 U.S. Code Sec. App. 201

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