Frequently Asked Questions / Do I need an attorney for my military divorce?

Craig’s Answer:

Anyone getting a divorce should retain the services of an attorney and that’s especially true if one spouse or both are members of the military. Non-military divorces normally only concern state law. If a spouse is in the military, federal laws also apply, which can make resolving the divorce more complicated.

Military members and their dependents are entitled to many benefits such as commissary privileges, healthcare coverage and military base privileges. The biggest issues that couples will likely encounter in a military divorce will be the division of the military member’s benefits and pension.

Our lawyers are intimately familiar with the laws, regulations, rights and privileges that impact spouses going through a military divorce, including:

  • Military Retired Pay
  • Disability Pay
  • Survivor Benefit Plan
  • Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay
  • Medical and Dental Insurance Coverage, TRICARE

Along with California property division laws, the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. This law authorizes a direct payment of a portion of a military retirees pay to a former spouse. Federal laws do not allow the division or distribution of the military member’s retirement benefits directly to the spouse by the government unless the marriage lasted ten years or longer while the member has been on active duty.

There are also laws set up to protect active duty military members against being held in “default” from failing to respond to a divorce action. Under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and in the discretion of the local California court, the divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire time the active service member is on duty and for up to 60 days thereafter.

If you are considering a divorce, and you and/or your spouse are in the military, call our office at  760-722-7669 so we can discuss how we can help you through the process.

Posted in: Family Law, Military Divorce