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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Military divorce versus civilian divorce: what you need to know

No matter what kind of jobs the two parties have, divorce is always hard for a California couple. Even an amicable couple may find that they struggle with the emotional difficulties that come with the end of a marriage, even if both spouses agree to all divorce-related issues. However, there are certain factors that can make a military divorce particularly complex.

In fact, there are multiple factors that can make military divorces different from civilian divorces. If you are in the military, or your spouse is, you would be wise to know what you need to do to protect yourself and your post-divorce interests. While military service could affect child custody and the division of retirement benefits, it is still possible to secure a sustainable and workable divorce agreement.

Child custody and military divorce

As expected, military service could affect how a parent can handle custody arrangements. From current deployments, potential future deployments and temporary duty assignments, there are many factors to consider when working on a custody arrangement between two servicemembers or a servicemember and a non-military spouse.

Retirement benefits and military divorce

One of the most significant ways that military service could affect divorce is in the way that certain retirement benefits are treated. Dividing military retirement benefits can be a complex process, and it can be helpful to understand how it works in order to pursue a financially beneficial settlement. Consider the following about division of military retirement assets:

  • Military retirement assets accumulated over the course of the marriage are subject to division.
  • Direct payment of retirement assets from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service is possible if the couple was married for at least 10 years that coincided with at least 10 years of service.
  • A court can still order direct payments to the non-military spouse straight from the military spouse if direct payment from DFAS is not possible.

It is wise to know your rights and understand what you could be entitled to while you work to obtain a final order that allows you have to a strong future.

After you decide to divorce

While divorce is difficult and complex, you would be wise not to allow temporary emotions to drive your decision-making. When your focus is on a strong and stable future, you will be more likely to make choices and pursue specific things that make sense both now and long into the future. From child custody to securing your rightful share of retirement assets, you would be wise to first start with a complete evaluation of your case by someone well versed in the unique issues involved in a military divorce.

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

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