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Are Military Divorces Handled Differently?

While a military divorce will ultimately dissolve a marriage just like any other divorce, there are additional legal matters involved that can complicate the situation. In California, military divorces have many unique issues in comparison to a typical civilian divorce and, as such, certain state and federal laws apply. If you are in the midst of proceeding with a military divorce, it is crucial to understand these laws and to hire an attorney experienced in handling these types of divorces.

Protection for Active Duty Military Members

To protect active duty military members from being held in default for failing to respond to a divorce action, laws were enacted to protect active duty members from being divorced without being aware of it or having a chance to respond. This is known as the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521. In California court, divorce proceedings can be postponed for the entire time he or she is on active duty and for up to 60 days thereafter. That said, if an active duty member also wishes to get divorced, this right can be waived to allow the divorce to proceed.

Division of Property

When it comes to dividing property, military divorces can also differ in how they are handled. In addition to the usual applicable California property division laws, the federal government enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) to govern how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. These federal laws will not divide and distribute any of the military member’s retirement to the spouse unless they have been married for 10 years or longer while the member was on active military duty.

Residency Requirements

To file for a military divorce in California, you or your spouse must reside in the state, or you or your spouse must be stationed in the state.

Like any other divorce, grounds for military divorce in California are the same as a civilian divorce.

San Diego Military Divorce Attorneys

Military families face different challenges compared to civilians who file for a divorce. State and federal laws, as well as military regulations, govern certain aspects of divorce cases, which can complicate matters. At Cage & Miles, our highly experienced family law attorneys are ready to fight for your rights, no matter how complex your case might be.

Contact our office today at (858) 943-2060 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.