For couples where one or both are members of the military, life can get complicated when it comes time to divorce. Unlike civilian divorces, where both spouses are present and it’s easy to determine where to file for divorce, military couples may not be able to have easy answers to these and other questions. However, while the process may be a bit more difficult for these couples, obtaining a divorce is still possible. By doing some research and using an attorney with experience in these matters, the process can nevertheless offer a smooth transition into a new life.
Where to File for Divorce
Of all the tasks these couples must do when filing for divorce, choosing the right state from which to file for divorce may be the most important. Since laws vary from state to state, this choice will determine how easily the divorce proceeds as well as what type of divorce agreement may be reached along the way. For example, if a couple decides to file for divorce in Puerto Rico, courts there will not divide a military pension between a service member and their spouse. Therefore, while this would greatly benefit one spouse, it would certainly pose a detriment to the other. As a result, the spouse seeking to file for divorce should determine which state in which they lived would benefit them most in a divorce agreement.
Another factor for these couples to take into consideration is the separation period that may be required by some states. For example, states such as Florida and Texas have no required separation period, while North Carolina requires a one-year separation before granting a divorce. However, some states choose to recognize a deployment as a couple’s separation, which in some cases can make the process much smoother and quicker. In these cases, the deployment can be viewed as the separation period if one spouse intended for the separation to be permanent once the deployment began.
Filing During a Deployment
In situations where one spouse is very eager to obtain a divorce, they may choose to file for divorce while their spouse is deployed. However, most attorneys advise against doing so for a variety of reasons. Depending upon where the spouse is deployed, logistics can make it extremely difficult to serve them with the divorce papers, which can make an already complicated situation even more so for everyone involved. Also, many states have legal protections in place for the deployed spouse, allowing them to take advantage of postponements and continuances until they return home. In addition, many attorneys advise against filing during a deployment because doing so could distract the service member from their mission, which could put them and others around them at risk.
While a military divorce may prove to be more difficult in some ways than a civilian divorce, it’s still important to make sure the attorneys involved are ones who have had experience in these matters. Whether it’s deciding which state in which you lived offers the most favorable possibilities for a divorce agreement or trying to determine if obtaining a no-fault divorce would be best, these situations are filled with many complex issues. By using an attorney skilled in these matters, it should be possible to obtain results that will work best for everyone.
Most people today use cell phones as a primary form of communication. This is convenient although it can also cause problems when a spouse is looking for private information during a divorce. Here is what you need to know about whether a spouse can legally obtain your cell phone records and bills during a divorce.
Subpoenas and Divorce Cases
The reality is that one spouse can subpoena the cell phone records and bills of the other spouse involved in the divorce proceedings. It is important to note that a divorce must have already been filed for a spouse to subpoena those records. Married couples who are not going through an official legal divorce cannot be compelled to surrender that type of information to each other. The subpoena will list what needs to be turned over along with any requests for the target spouse to testify. This does happen all the time in divorce cases.
The Discovery Phase
A subpoena might not even be necessary to acquire cell phone records from one of the parties in a divorce. Your spouse’s lawyers can potentially request them during the discovery phase of the case. This is a phase where relevant evidence can be requested by attorneys simply as part of the proceedings. There are laws regarding discovery although it is often used in place of filing and serving a formal subpoena.
Acquiring Information in Other Ways
Although getting a subpoena or discovery are the two ways attorneys can acquire your cell phone records and bills, there are other methods. Your spouse can potentially just directly access your devices in order to find information. Your spouse could copy or print out text messages if your phone is left undefended while you are both living in the home. Your spouse could also make copies of cell phone bills if they are not exclusively in your name. This is something that you have to be very careful about because the recovered information is often admissible or usable during the divorce.
How Cell Phone Records Can Be Used In a Divorce
Any cell phone records and bills that are gathered can be used in several ways during a heated divorce. The bills can be used to show calls to people in order to prove infidelity. The same is true of cell phone call records from the carrier. The information can be used during a trial to prove certain points. It can also be leveraged by a lawyer during settlement negotiations to put the spouse in a stronger position.
Other Vulnerable Areas
Much of the technology for communicating today is interconnected. You need to worry about more than just your cell phone records and bills. You should be worried about emails and social media as well. Those records could also be copied by a spouse during a divorce or subpoenaed through the courts. There could potentially be damaging information in those accounts. The information might not even be damaging although a spouse will work hard to misinterpret it.
There is no way to protect yourself against being served with a subpoena for cell phone records outside of hiring a divorce attorney. You do want to take precautions to prevent your spouse from having easy access to your devices, bills and accounts. Keep your cell phone in a secure location or on your person at all times. Change the passwords on your social media and email accounts. This will force your spouse to have to file for subpoenas in order to see the information.
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