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Divorce and Soldiers/Salors Relief Act

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-Military person files for divorce in the State of Maryland.
-Husband/wife are issued pre-trial conference date by court.
-Military person gets orders to non-CONUS (overseas) assignment.
-Military person accepts orders to go overseas.
-Pre-trial court date is during overseas time.


1. Does the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act put a halt to the divorce procedings?

2. If yes, then when would the divorce procedings continue?

3. If no to #1, does he/she have to be present at scheduled hearings?

4. If no to #1, does a legal separation agreement document need to be produced and signed by both parties before military person leaves in order for divorce to be finalized by court?

5. What legal rights does non-military party in this situation (in regards to Soldiers/Sailors Relief Act)?

6. Where can non-military party get advice/assistance/legal advice in regards to this situation?


-Both parties' lawyers are ignorant in regards to Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act.
-Court is ignorant in regards to Soldiers & Sailors Relief Act.
-No military agency (to include JAG departments) offer advice to non-military members in this regard (** with the exception of "Guess you'll have to wait till they get back.")



Divorcenet.com have an excellent forum on Military divorce issues.



No help so far found.......

Divorce Net doesn't have any information in relation to this particular matter. The only thing it did was give three lawyer's names and addresses in local area.


I am not a lawyer. I am a retired military guy who got divorced while on active duty and had my keister protected somewhat by the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. From the way it was explained to me:

- The SSRA does not halt divorce proceedings.
- The proceedings may be held with the military member absent, BUT unless the military member signs a waiver of appearance, no judgement can be finalized. The military member cannot be compelled to appear as long as they are stationed outside the state in which the petition was filed, UNLESS they come into the state and you can get them served.
- Military members don't "accept" orders overseas, they get them and go.
- The SSRA doesn't address the non-military member at all.
- The non-military member is free to obtain legal representation and to try and get the military member to sign a waiver of appearance.

What I would do is try to come to an agreement of division of assets and whatever other issues there are, then ask the military member to sign the waiver of appearance, then go to court with that in hand. That worked for the ex and me. Otherwise..."wait till they get back".



Posters here are correct. The SSRA does not cover the non-military person at all. If a military individual files for divorce, then goes overseas during the proceedings, they cannot be compelled go come back for the pre-trial or trial hearings. Additionally, they can go overseas and come back and not return to the state at all.

This lengthens the time they are married. The only reason why someone would do this is to mess with the non-military individual. The only person it truly hurts is the military person themselves. Reason being is that even though a divorce has been requested, they two are still married. In the end, this lengthens the time of marriage, granting the non-military individual a greater percentage of the military member's pension upon retirement.

The only recourse a non-military member has in this situation is to await the return of the military member back to CONUS, then file for an absolute divorce in the state that they reside and not the military member. It will be granted by showing that the two parties have been living separate for over two years (required in some states such as Maryland).

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