Everything is going to be a little bit different, and different judges have their own procedures, but generally speaking, an active duty person can appear for a hearing over the phone. In Florida, we have notary rules that allow for a person to be sworn in either by a notary or by an officer if they are a deployed or an active duty person. For instance, I have a gentleman recently who is stationed in California and he had to get up very early because on the east coast, our hearing was at 9:00, but he did get an officer to come with him, so his officer swore him in and he was able to get divorced that day over the phone in Florida, even though he was stationed in California. Generally speaking, most of our courts appreciate our military service members and they will do anything possible to kind of help them get things done. You want to talk to a local attorney to see what the local rules are in your jurisdiction, but generally speaking, you should be able to appear by phone.
Ginger L. Dugan, a family lawyer at All Family Law Group in Tampa, Florida, has 10 years of experience in family law and handling complex cases.