California Military Divorce Guide 2024

military divorce

California Military Divorce Guide 2024

Going through a divorce is never easy, but when one or both spouses are in the military, it can add an extra layer of complexity to the process. Military divorces in California  have unique legal considerations that require knowledge and experience. Fortunately, San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law is here to help. 

Below, we have answered some of the questions we often get from military members and spouses considering divorce. For help with your case, call our office today.

What Makes Military Divorce Different?

The challenges of a military divorce can pose unique circumstances in several ways. One significant difference is jurisdiction. While civilian couples typically file for divorce in the state where they reside, military members have additional options. They can choose to file in the state where they are stationed, the state where they have legal residence or the state where their spouse resides. This flexibility is essential for military couples who often move frequently due to deployments or transfers.

Another crucial difference is the division of military pensions and benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) allows state courts to consider military retired pay as community property, meaning it can be divided between the spouses as part of the divorce settlement. Determining the proper calculation for dividing these benefits requires an attorney with knowledge and experience in military divorce cases.

What if One Spouse is Deployed?

Military deployments can present unique challenges in divorce cases. If one spouse is currently deployed, it’s essential to work with an attorney who understands the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). 

This federal law provides certain protections to military members during legal proceedings, including divorce. It allows for a temporary stay or postponement of the case if the deployed spouse is unable to appear in person due to military duties. It’s crucial to have an attorney who can navigate these intricacies and ensure that the deployed spouse’s rights are protected.

Are Military Spouses Entitled to Benefits?

Military spouses may have access to a variety of benefits, depending on the length of the marriage and the time the military member served. These benefits can include healthcare, base privileges, and access to commissaries and exchanges. It’s essential to consult with a San Diego Family Law Attorney focusing on military divorces to understand which benefits you may be entitled to and how they can be addressed in the divorce settlement.

20-20-20 Rule For Military Benefits

If a military spouse meets the qualifications to satisfy the 20-20-20 rule, the spouse after divorce will be eligible for the same benefits as the military member for the rest of their life with one possible caveat in the event of remarriage to a non-military member.  What does this mean? Essentially, the former spouse will receive Tricare, on-base priviliges and be eligible for a portion of the military spouse’s retirement.

The 20/20/20 qualifications require all of the following: 

  1. Married for at least 20 years
  2. Military spouse served for at least 20 years
  3. 20 years of the marriage overlaps with 20 years of military service

10-10 Rule For Military Pension to Ex Spouse

The 20-20-20 rule is not the only way that a military spouse’s pension can be divided and paid directly to an ex-spouse. This can also happen if the couple  is married for at least 10 years and that 10 years overlapped with at least 10 years of military service. The 10-10 rule qualifies the former spouse to receive a portion of the military spouse’s pension paid directly to them by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Can any Divorce Lawyer Handle a Military Divorce?

While any divorce lawyer can technically handle a military divorce, it’s in your best interest to work with an attorney who has experience in this area of law. Military divorces have unique considerations, such as jurisdiction, division of military pensions, and the potential impact of military deployments on the divorce process. An attorney experienced in military divorces will have in-depth knowledge of these complexities and be better equipped to protect your rights and interests throughout the process.

Why Choose Us?

If you’re a military member or spouse going through a divorce, it’s crucial to have the right legal guidance by your side. At San Diego Divorce Mediation and Family Law, we understand the challenges that military divorces present and are here to navigate the process smoothly on your behalf.

Scott Levin, our Chief Peacekeeper™, is a highly experienced Family Law Attorney and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. With over ten years of experience, Scott has a deep understanding of military divorces, as well as law, business, mediation, and negotiation. He prioritizes putting his clients first and aims to provide a better alternative to the destructive legal structure in divorce cases.

When you work with Scott Levin, you can expect high-quality professional mediation services that create a controlled, safe, and respectful environment for resolving disputes. Scott focuses his practice on crafting tailored agreements to resolve conflicts quickly and respectfully in divorcing couples. He will ensure that your rights and interests are protected, even in the face of complex military divorce considerations.

San Diego Family Law Attorney: Expert Guidance for Military Divorces

To get started on your military divorce journey, call us at (858) 255-1321 or schedule an appointment online. Trust Scott Levin and San Diego Divorce Mediation and Family Law to handle your military divorce with confidence and peace of mind.