Military Divorce

Military divorceMy divorce practice extends to marital dissolution for members of the military. As a former U.S. Marine, I am knowledgeable about the unique and complex issues involved with military divorce.

Included in those issues are wage garnishment, child support, financial and property issues, military regulations, division of retirement pay, and more. With multiple separate jurisdictions where one can file for divorce, having an attorney who is skilled with the complications so common with military regulations and procedures.

There are laws set up to protect active duty military members against being held in “default” from failing to respond to a divorce action. These laws were enacted to protect active members of the armed forces from being divorced without knowing it.

Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and at the discretion of the local California court, a military divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire time the active service member is on duty and for up to 60 days thereafter. (This is common when the active member is serving in a war.) The right to have these divorce proceedings postponed can be waived by any active duty member should he or she wish to proceed with the divorce.

Military Benefits

If the nonmilitary ex-spouse of a service member meets all the required conditions, he or she may be entitled to military benefits that include:

  • Base privileges – For marriages lasting over 20 years, including commissary, post/exchange, theater
  • Health care benefits – 20/20/20, 20/20/15 rules and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)
  • Military retirement pay –  Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) and CA law
  • Survivor benefits – Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
  • Spousal support – if a California court chooses to award it, both child support and spousal support together cannot exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances.

There are different qualifications for each of these benefits. With this variety of qualifying factors that determine which benefits may apply, we should discuss and plan for your best possible outcome.

If you need to pursue a divorce with a member of the armed forces, you can count on me to aggressively protect your rights, whether you are located in San Diego or overseas.

Copyright 2016 by Randall A. Dierlam
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