How Do I Handle Getting Divorced While In Iraq?


I have been in Iraq for 15 months and was recently served divorce papers. I have a lot going on and I can’t concentrate on this without putting my life in danger.  I want to make her happy, so I’ve told her I would divorce her.

I have the Petition for Divorce & “Waiver of Service.” The grounds for divorce are: “Insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities.”  I want to be with my kids more than anything. She wants $1000 a month child support, conservator who has exclusive right to designate the primary residence of children.  I provide medical child support.

I don’t know where to start. She told me she will wait on getting the divorce until I get back in two months, and that all I need to do is sign and notarize the “Waiver of Service” and send it back.

Do you have any words of advice?



You do not advise whether you are active duty military or civilian.  If you are active duty military, your Judge Advocate General’s office can advise you that you are not subject to lawsuits while on active duty for the very point you make of diverting your attention from your duty.  If you are civilian, you are subject to suit, but she will have to have you served in Iraq to commence proceedings unless you consent to service by signing the waiver.

If you are a civilian, you should contact a qualified Texas domestic relations law firm that is willing to conduct a telephone consultation, such as Cordell & Cordell, to review your situation and options.  With proper legal representation, you may be able to participate in the proceedings while oversees or your attorney may be able to obtain a reasonable continuance until you can return.

Your local attorney can review the documents you were sent, as well the any court file, and advise you as to how to proceed.  As signing any legal documents can subject you to a default judgment, finding of admissions, or other unintended consequences, regardless of what your soon-to-be-ex-wife tells you, you should not sign any legal documents without consulting a qualified attorney.


Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues.

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