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Things to do when divorcing a deployed servicemember

You finally got the call you'd been expecting: The service member you married, who is still deployed, wants to end the marriage. The separation is just too much of a strain on the relationship. He or she wants to end things, telling you to consider the marriage over even though the deployment isn't. What next steps should you take?

1. Learn about your legal options. Make the most of the time that you have before your spouse gets back from the deployment. Be sure you know what rights you have, what legal steps you're expected to take, and how the process works. Do your research and prepare.

2. Talk to others, even a counselor. This is a tough situation to be in, and it's unlike most other divorces since you're not with your spouse. Don't be afraid to talk it through with friends, family members, and even counselors.

3. Look into your financial situation. Maybe you let your spouse handle most of this, or maybe it's your job while he or she is away. Either way, make sure you know about your assets and obligations. Look into things like credit card debt, mortgage payments, what you owe on your cars, student loans, and much more. You need to have an accurate picture of your family's income, assets that are owned already, and what outstanding debt you have.

4. Get your documents together. Documents you may need include bank statements, pay stubs, mortgage papers, the title to your car, and the like. Don't forget about retirement accounts, investments, and other long-term financial assets.

A divorce isn't easy. Time apart from your spouse isn't either. At least make the best of it by looking into these four key areas before your spouse returns so that you're ready to tackle the divorce.

Source: Military.com, "6 Steps Through A Deployment Divorce," Matthew R. Hamel, accessed Jan. 03, 2017

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