Military divorces are often complicated by the requirements on individuals who are on active duty. Active duty personnel can seek delays of divorce actions when their military obligations prevent them from making court appearances, and other delays could also slow the process.
If you or your spouse are an active or former member of the military going through a divorce in Alabama, contact New Beginnings Family Law as soon as possible. We will be able to evaluate your situation and help you understand the process, including how long your divorce might take.
Let us discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call us or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.
Alabama allows no-fault divorces for grounds of incompatibility (often referred to as “irreconcilable differences”) or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Fault-based grounds could include adultery, habitual drunkenness, drug addiction, emotional abuse, physical abuse, abandonment for a period of at least 12 months, imprisonment for at least two years, inability to maintain employment, or lack of physical intimacy.
A servicemember can request a delay to any administrative proceeding or civil court action under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act. If they are unable to participate due to their military service and meet all the requirements, they will be entitled to a 90-day stay in the proceeding. A hearing officer, magistrate, or judge may grant an additional stay for 90 days.
Members of the Alabama National Guard or a member of the National Guard in another state who is employed in Alabama who is called to active duty or other federally funded duty will be entitled to the protections of the SCRA according to Alabama Code Title 31. Military Affairs and Civil Defense § 31-12-2.
The respondent in a divorce action has 30 days from the day they receive the summons to respond in court. When a respondent does not respond within 30 days, the petitioner can request a default judgment but must comply with the SCRA when the respondent is a member of the United States Armed Forces.
Under the SCRA, the judge must appoint a lawyer to represent the servicemember, and the court must grant a 90-day stay (at minimum) if there is a defense to the action or if the individual’s presence is required for that defense.
If you or your spouse are an active or former member of the military going through a divorce in Alabama, it is normal to want to know how long the divorce proceedings could take. Because of the specific protections and the potential for a stay in the proceedings if one or both spouses are on active duty, it is vital to speak with an experienced Huntsville divorce attorney to discuss your specific situation.
The team at New Beginnings Family Law is here to answer your questions and protect your rights. We work hard to help individuals and their families move on to a better, brighter future. Our firm is proud to represent military clients across the greater Huntsville area. Call us or contact us online to set up a confidential consultation.
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