The last thing you wanted in the weeks leading up to your deployment was for your spouse to file divorce papers. It happened, and now you are doing your best to come to terms with the situation. It may not have come as a great surprise because you knew your marriage was heading downhill; however, you'd hoped to talk more about it after you came back to Arizona.
Now it's done, and you feel stressed because, instead of preparing to deploy, you're busy worrying about child custody and other divorce-related issues. The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act may help you alleviate stress. The more you learn about this law before you deploy, the better.
Ways the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act protects your rights
Serving in the U.S. military is an honorable profession. The federal government understands that you may face personal problems during deployment where you would need legal protection. The following information tells how the SCRA protects you:
- If you rent your home, your landlord cannot evict you while you are on deployment.
- Your landlord also cannot terminate your lease.
- The phone company can't turn off your phone service.
- If you lease your car, the leasing company cannot terminate your contract.
- Regarding divorce, your spouse cannot instigate legal proceedings against you if you are unable to appear in court.
- This includes all aspects of divorce, such as child custody, support or property division.
- The law protects you from any other type of civil litigation as well.
You can rest easy, knowing that your divorce proceedings will be put on hold until you get back home to Arizona. If something happens while you are abroad that causes you concern, you can tap into available support resources to rectify the situation.
Things to know regarding SCRA protection
The following list includes important factors regarding the SCRA that may apply to your situation:
- You must invoke the law for protection to activate.
- You can ask for legal representation if you believe someone is violating your rights while deployed.
- Especially regarding divorce and custody matters, you have the right to be present in court for any and all proceedings.
Balancing family life and military duty can be quite challenging. Deployment increases the average military family's stress level. However, if you know your rights and how to protect them, you can focus on your military duties first and address all divorce-related issues upon your return.