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Do I show up to court in a military divorce if I am not the petitioner and we have no property or children together?

Citrus Heights, CA |

My husband has filed for divorce after we have been seperated for a few years. He is in the military and has an attorney but I don't. He has had a couple children in our marriage with other women, but I never put him out. He decided to leave on his own and now has filed for divorce. We don't have children together but I already had a child when we got married. He always refused to add her to his insurance because he said since she wasn't his the military would not permit it. I am being told that I have no rights to request insurance or anything so I should not even show up to court since I can't afford an attorney and he has one. It just seems like if I don't show up I will get billed with court fees. I am on a fixed income.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. No such thing as a 'military divorce', it’s a state matter.

    That said, not sure who is telling you what, you ARE a military spouse with full privileges at the base, including access to legal services. While the JAGs cannot represent you (or your husband) in a divorce which is a state proceeding, they CAN advise you of all the rights and privileges you have as a military spouse and they CAN advise you on how the divorce process works.
    I am struck by the phrase that you are on a ‘fixed income’--your spouse is required to provide you support on a formula the military will require and enforce until such time as the State court issues orders. If he is not providing you sufficient support contact his command IMMEDIATELY, speak with his executive officer and or the Command's supporting legal service office.

    In the alternative, if you cannot afford an attorney, contact a legal aid organization and request assistance. If you qualify, you may get a free attorney to represent you.

    Finally, skipping a court hearing is almost never a good idea.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I am providing educational instruction only--not legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


  2. While it would be best to use the services of an attorney so you can ensure that your interests are protected, even if you decide not to get an attorney you should appear at the hearing (unless you and your husband are able to reach a settlement beforehand).

    When you are served with the divorce complaint, it should be accompanied with a Summons that will tell you that you have a certain number of days to respond ---- MAKE SURE YOU FILE A RESPONSE WITHIN THAT TIME FRAME. The reason that this is important is that you husband can get a default judgment against you without giving you any further notice or an opportunity to be heard by the Court.

    This response is for information purposes only, it does not create any attorney-client relationship. Responses to questions posted on this Forum are of a general nature only. Because it is not possible to have all of the facts of your issue addressed in this forum, you should consult with an attorney to review the unique circumstances specific to your situation. www.TheSchollLawFirm.com

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