Knowing what steps to take when pursuing a divorce can be challenging in any scenario, but when one or both of the spouses is deployed, it adds an extra layer of considerations. For both parties, there are certain steps that can be taken even during the deployment to prepare for the divorce process. Here are some of the first steps that Maryland-based couples can take to get started on a divorce, even if one party is deployed:
Step 1: Legal consultations
Consulting with an attorney is key to a fair and legally sound divorce. Starting the search for a good family lawyer as soon as possible can help someone find the right fit for their situation. A deployed individual can consult lawyers over the phone, taking time to ask questions and get to know who might be best to help them in their particular circumstance.
Step 2: Arrange emotional and psychological support
Keeping emotions steady and managing the stress of divorce is very important. Active-duty service members and their spouses can seek mental health support through Military OneSource, or through the programs and counselors at the base. Spouses who are not enlisted themselves should keep in mind, however, that these options funded by the military may only be available to them before the divorce, so seeking external support may be required in their cases.
Step 3: Gather documents and make calculations
Property division requires a lot of documentation and calculations. Knowing the important details in advance, and having the paperwork to back them up, is important. If spouses are able, creating a budget to ensure funds are managed until property is split can also be a great benefit.
Divorce is never easy, but taking proactive steps to protect one’s interests and mental health can make a big difference for everyone involved. Military divorces can be complicated by issues such as where to file and housing considerations, so it is particularly important for people to take steps as soon as possible to clarify their interests and next steps. Even those who are not deployed or are unclear on where to file can benefit from speaking to a Maryland divorce attorney as a starting point.