There is no other job quite like serving in the military. While servicemembers are on active duty, they are basically at work 24/7. In many cases, they are out of the country for months at a time. Because of this, they cannot respond to civil litigation in the same way civilians can.
That is why, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), members of the military are protected from civil litigation while they are on active duty. This includes divorce, custody, and child support issues. If you or your spouse is on active duty and you have a family legal matter to resolve, you need a lawyer who has experience working with members of the military. Trust MacDowell Law Group with your divorce or child support order.
How SCRA Can Impact a Divorce
Because an active servicemember will likely not be able to appear in court to respond to civil litigation, they have a right to request a stay of civil proceedings to delay legal action until they are able to participate in the proceeding. Since divorce and custody proceedings are civil matters, this right extends to these legal actions. To delay a proceeding, a servicemember who is currently on active duty or was on active duty within the last 90 days will have to:
- Be notified of the proceeding
- Submit a written request for a stay in the proceeding
- Explain why they cannot participate in the proceeding and give a date for when they will be able to participate
- Provide a statement from their commanding officer
The court will make a decision about whether the military member is eligible for a delay in the divorce proceeding.
SCRA also provides servicemembers with an opportunity to reopen some judgments that were issued against them while they were on active duty. This could apply to custody decisions, child or spousal support orders, and division of property agreements. Because they were not able to defend their case when the judgment was issued, they might be able to request that the matter be reconsidered once they are free to participate in the process.
A Divorce Attorney Who Works With Servicemembers Can Make All the Difference
Whether your spouse is trying to file for divorce or custody while you are on active duty or you are married to someone on active duty and are trying to expedite a divorce decision, you need a divorce lawyer who is familiar with SCRA and the rights it guarantees. At MacDowell Law Group, we proudly represent members of the military and their families in divorce and custody cases.
Do You Need to Speak to a Virginia Divorce Attorney?
If you are considering divorce, you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia, law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia and look forward to helping you.