Where one or more spouses in a marriage are members of the military and the spouses divorce, the divorce is referred to as a military divorce. A military divorce presents its own set of challenges and requirements that will be different from those experienced by people going through a non-military divorce. This can include the complicated aspects of calculating a service member’s income, which includes not just pay but also allowances and other benefits, as well as division of assets including the right to military pensions and disability payments. At the Law Offices of Andy Cook, a San Diego Military Divorce Lawyer can help parties who are going through a military divorce to understand their rights, while ensuring that the interests of the parties are preserved and protected now and into the future.
Ask a San Diego Military Divorce Lawyer about the Procedural Issues in a Military Divorce
The general procedure for obtaining a military divorce in the California courts is the same as for obtaining a non-military divorce, but federal law provides relief for armed forces members serving overseas by allowing those members to delay appearing in a civil action such as a divorce for at least 90 days. Serving a member of the military serving overseas with divorce papers may also be complicated and require an inquiry into that particular country’s laws regarding service. That said, the law offers methods in some circumstances by which parties can obtain a divorce even where one spouse is serving overseas and thus unable to appear in a California Court.
Division of Property and Spousal and Child Support in a Military Divorce
In a typical non-military divorce, the parties will either work together to come up with an agreement regarding the division of their assets and how much spousal support and child support will be paid, or, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the judge will make those determinations. A military divorce presents special concerns with dividing up the property and setting support payments, as military members are compensated in ways different than that of most of the general population. For example, a military service member receives a paycheck for his or her services, but is also compensated through housing and food allowances and other benefits. Thus, in looking at the parties’ incomes and living situations, the court will look at these other benefits that may be lost to one party through a divorce. For example, military spouses often do not own their own homes but live in military housing, and so when one spouse no longer has access to the military housing, the divorce judgment will have to account for that changed circumstance.
Other issues a court will look at in a military divorce are the retirement payments, including military pensions, that a service member will receive. If the retirement payments were based on military service while the parties were married, the law may deem those ongoing payments (even when made after the divorce) to be community property to which both spouses have ongoing ownership rights. A spouse may also have an interest in ongoing VA benefits paid to one spouse. Federal law interacts with California state law in many aspects of military divorce, and it is important for both parties to a military divorce to understand their rights before any settlement agreement is reached and/or before the parties go in front of a judge.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation in CA Military Divorce Matters
Given the complicated aspects of property and income division related to military divorces, it is essential that you are well-represented in the negotiation or litigation of any contested matters in your military divorce. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Andy Cook possess the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to provide you with the representation you need in this critical area.