Divorce & Custody Proceedings Involving Military Service Members

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Feb 19, 2008 | 0 Comments

The rules regarding divorce or custody proceedings involving military personnel are different than those affecting civilians.  The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act is just one way that military personnel can benefit from these different rules.  The most important aspect of the Act is the availability to stay any civil proceeding, whether it be child custody or visitation, divorce, or child support proceeding confronting the service member or their dependents. 

The Act, signed into law on Dec. 19, 2003 by President Bush expanded service member's protections and rights to include not only temporary suspension of judicial proceedings but also temporary suspension of administrative proceedings and transactions as well.  The Act provides these protections to members on active duty in all branches of the armed services as well as members of the National Guard called to active duty for over 30 days. 

If a service member receives a default divorce judgment for example, the court shall reopen the Judgment to allow the service member to defend if: 1. the military member was affected due to military service in asserting his defenseand 2. the application to reopen is filed within 90 days after the end of military service. 

**The military have special rights and obligations pertaining to divorce and family law matters.  I strongly advise all military personnel to speak with an experienced attorney or lawyer who understands the substantial differences in military divorce and family law. 

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


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