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Military Divorce in South Carolina

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Sep 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Serving in the military can sometimes present tricky issues for those facing a separation or divorce. Consider the following areas, which can lead to confusion for those unfamiliar with the process of military divorce in South Carolina:


The first question that must be answered in any Family Court case is which state has jurisdiction to hear the matter. For couples that have lived and worked in one place for years, the answer is quite simple. For a military family that has moved around the country (or the world), it can be a lot more difficult. One helpful factor in determining someone's place of legal residence is to find out where that person files his or her tax returns.

Service of Process

While this is usually an easy part of the divorce process, properly serving legal papers on a spouse who is in the military can be tricky. When a military spouse is deployed on active duty, serving legal papers is understandably difficult. Generally, your best bet is to ask the military leadership to serve the papers, but a confusing quirk is that your spouse would have to consent to the service first. If the military spouse is resistant to the divorce, this could delay things, possibly until he or she returns from active duty and can be served in person.


Given the unpredictable nature of their work, members of the military receive extra protection when it comes to legal actions. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) applies to an array of legal matters including separation and divorce, and it says that military members are protected from lawsuits when they are otherwise occupied with pressing work obligations. This means that courts can delay legal proceedings for the time that a military member is on active duty and for up to 60 days following that person's return from active duty.

Source: “Military Divorce: Why Where You File Matters,” published at

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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