The last blog discussed general concepts to serve divorce or paternity documents on Wisconsin servicemembers. This blog will address specifics for each branch of the military.
The Army will assist county sheriffs to serve members with legal papers, as long as the member is stationed, resides, or employed at the base. The first point of contact for assistance should be the military police office on base.
The Air Force will assist the sheriff with service. The first contact should be the base Staff Judge Advocate or Security Forces office. The relevant official will either escort the process server to the member, or arrange for the member to meet the process server.
Both branches will assist service, but the commanding officer’s consent is required. Service in the presence of the CO (or someone designated by him/her, may also be necessary. Branch cooperation is normally provided for service of an “in-state” legal paper, from the state where the servicemember resides. A specific locations may be designated for the process server and member to meet to complete service. These branches will not cooperate with service of “out of state” papers. The servicemember will simply be informed that s/he may accept service, but will not be required to report, and the process server or sheriff will not be assisted to meet the member. In either case, the first contact would be the base Staff Judge Advocate or Civil Process Officer. Note that these branches will assist with service of civilian employees on or off-base.
The Coast Guard will cooperate with service on a member “to the maximum extent possible” consistent with the member’s rights and the need for service.
The above are only summaries. If you wish to file a divorce, paternity, child support, or child custody case involving a servicemember, it is certainly best to work with a family lawyer and process server to ensure compliance with all requirements.
Attorney David Kowalski routinely handles military divorces for both servicemembers and their spouses. Contact him at 608-709-5000 with any questions.