The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and divorce

Whatever your role in the military, sometimes you need to concentrate on the task at hand. Failing to do so could put your life or those of others at risk. Or, at the very least, it could cause you to let your team down.

Few things can distract you more than the news your spouse has filed for divorce. Whether you are an intelligence officer listening intently to a foreign language call or a foot soldier scanning the horizon for suspicious movements, you will need extraordinary powers of focus to keep the thoughts of divorce out of your mind.

How the Servicemenberss Civil Relief Act can “pause” your divorce

While there is no way of turning back time, pretending all is well, and that your spouse has not filed, there is a way to put off dealing with it till later. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows you to ask the court to put the divorce proceedings on hold for 90 days. If that is not enough, you can apply for a further extension.

The act applies to any civil litigation against you, not just divorce. As well as staying proceedings, you can also use the SCRA to prevent default judgments being issued against you because you were unable to respond in time. It can be especially useful when dealing with child custody or child support issues where you want to be present to give your arguments.

Military marriages are rarely easy. Most successful relationships rely on shared participation in daily tasks and decisions. Yet, this is often impossible due to the nature of your job. While it may be too late to save your marriage, the SCRA gives you a chance to participate in decisions over your future and those of your child.