Palmer Rodak & Associates
Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal SpecializationServing your Community for 19 Years
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Divorce in the military: Where do I start?

Calling it quits with a spouse can be a difficult process even in the most amicable of situations, but a divorce proceeding often presents unique challenges for members of the military. Cases involving divorce in the military can be complex in the state of California since they involve both federal law as well as state law. A few tips may help you to navigate this type of family law proceeding.

Service members on active duty

Federal law generally protects service members who are on active duty from having to go through divorce proceedings. According to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, service women and men in the United States cannot start divorce proceedings while they are on active duty as well as for 60 days after active duty, at the court's discretion. This law is in place so that members of the military can commit their energy and time to defending the United States.

Federal and state laws

When it comes to getting a military divorce, federal laws might impact where a divorcing couple ends up in court and how a military pension is divided. Meanwhile, state laws might impact how spousal support/ alimony can be issued. Prior to the court's granting the dissolution of a marriage to members of the military or their spouses, the court has to have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction might refer to where you hold legal residence, even if you live on a military station elsewhere.

Military pensions

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, or USFSPA, along with the laws in California govern the splitting of pension assets in the military. An important factor in whether a military pension will become subject to division during divorce is if the marriage qualifies under the 10/10 rule. For a military pension to be eligible for division under this rule, your marriage must have lasted a minimum of 10 years, and during this time, the military service member must have provided a minimum of a decade of service.

In addition, if the court determines that you should receive part of a pension, you have the option of receiving a lump sum when the divorce takes place or a fixed percentage of the pension, which offers the advantage of being able to be adjusted for inflation. A knowledgeable attorney in California can walk you through your military divorce case and help you to fight for your fair share of assets and make informed decisions that will benefit your long-term financial future.

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Palmer Rodak & Associates
Certified Family Law Specialists State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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