May I Divorce My Spouse Who Is In The Service?


The short answer is no. During World War II the United States enacted a federal law to prevent the soldier from being divorce while in the service. The law was called the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Relief Act of 1940. Congress felt the service members fighting in World War II, did not need the emotional upset of their spouse divorcing them while in battle.

The law also suspended other civil actions such as it suspended collection of most judgments.

In December of 2003, Congress expanded the protections for military personnel by enacting the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Now, in most cases, the family of an active duty soldier may not be evicted from their apartment if the rent is less than $1,200 a month. The Act also limits interest accrued against credit cards, in many cases to 6% for active duty soldiers. The solider may not be subject to a default judgment.

Spouses may not obtain a divorce from an active duty solider, while on active duty, by default. A case in point is a spouse that served his wife with divorce papers while on leave. The solider returned to duty in Afghanistan and could not serve an Answer. The husband then defaulted her in Court. The Court did not know the wife was on active duty and granted the divorce. Fortunately we were contacted by the solider and were able to reopen the case.

If your family member is in the military, be sure to know that the solider does have special rights not available to civilians.


Scroll to Top

Get A Free Case Evaluation


Have A Question?