Military Divorces March to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Military Divorces March to the Beat of a Different Drummer

Divorce is hard enough for most people. However, when one – or both – of the parties serve in the military, the process may feel more like a 20-mile hike with full pack than a court proceeding. While military divorces do require a few extra steps, it’s usually possible to get over any obstacles that arise.

Residency Requirements and Military Divorces

In a California divorce, at least one party must meet the following conditions regarding residency:

  • Must have lived in California for the last six months, AND
  • Must have lived in the county where you plan to file for at least the past three months.

A military divorce can be filed in California if:

  • The service member’s legal residence is California; or
  • The spouse’s legal residence is California; or
  • The military member is stationed in California.

As with any divorce, the person who wants the divorce can file for legal separation if he or she does not meet the residency requirements.

Basic Issues in a Military Divorces

Branches of the military handle certain issues differently for servicemembers than civilians. For example, a divorced spouse may be able to use base housing in some circumstances. Benefits, including health care, may still be offered to some divorced spouses. Other benefits like commissary and exchange privileges may be appropriate depending on the length of the marriage and other factors.

Divorce is a civil matter handled by civil courts. However, active duty service members may be able to stop or delay an action taken in a divorce.

A Combination of State, Federal, and Military Law

California divorce laws govern much of the divorce proceeding. However, other laws relate to military divorces:

  • Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This law protects active-duty military personnel and their families from certain legal actions. For example, permanent custody orders may not be entered against service members who are deployed or otherwise unavailable because of military service.
  • Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act. This law relates to the division of military retired pay. Child support and spousal support are also addressed.

All Divorces Are Not Created Equal

To get through your military divorce, find an attorney with a deep understanding of California divorce law and military divorce procedures.

To discuss how to handle military divorce issues, please call us at 415-293-8314. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.

Military Couples Divorcing More Often Than Civilians

Military Divorces on the Rise
Military Divorces on the Rise
Our nation’s tumultuous economy and the high-tempo deployment environment are both likely factors influencing the growing divorce rate among military couples in the last ten years.  More military marriages ended in divorce in 2011 than civilian marriages.  Longer and more frequent deployments put an enormous strain on families, and the added stress in the marital relationship is often more than either spouse can handle. California is home to a large part of the U.S. military, with twenty-one major military installations, and over two hundred thousand total military personnel assigned to locations within our state, so many military divorces take place here. Both spouses should be aware that divorced military spouses may be entitled to a portion of the member’s retirement pay, Commissary and Base Exchange privileges, Survivor Benefit Plan, and even healthcare coverage.  If you are on either side of the equation – military member or non-member – be sure your rights and future benefits are protected.  Contact us to discuss your situation and let us help you fight for the best outcome possible. At the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger, we will persistently pursue the best outcome possible for you in your divorce proceedings. Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas.  If you are a spouse facing divorce, call us today to learn more about how we can help.  Call(415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.