It follows that the people who sacrifice the most end up with the greatest hardships. This is certainly true for the men and women in our military and their families. Having entered into the military for the love of your country, you probably did not realize the emotional and financial toll the decision would have on you and your family.
Being married to a member of the armed services is not easy. Both the family and the service member must endure months apart, endless relocations, and the battle scars of deployments. It is no wonder that your marriage is ending. As a military couple, you have endured hardships that others could not imagine. Now that you are facing divorce, you have new, unique personal, financial, and emotional issues to overcome.
You are probably full of questions. Having handled hundreds of military divorces and custody battles, we have seen it all. You are probably wondering such things as:
- Where do me and my spouse need to file for divorce?
- What happens if me or my spouse is deployed during the process?
- How does the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act apply to me and my spouse?
- What happens if our home state is not California?
- Do we need to divide the military pension and TSP?
- Does the non-military spouse have a right to military survivor benefits?
- Is BAH and BAQ calculated in our income?
- What happens to any disability benefits?
- What happens to our children if one of us is deployed?
- How does child support change during a deployment?
- What happens if one of us is restationed outside of California?
Military Divorces in California
Spouses contemplating a military divorce have legal issues to consider for filing. Military families are usually transferred to California from another state. If you relocated to California and have maintained another state as your home state, it may affect where you file for a divorce. Deciding whether the divorce must be filed in a different state is an important decision., it may affect custody, support, and even pension benefits.
Furthermore, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects active duty military from civil proceedings. This includes divorce proceedings. Participating in a military divorce can be more complicated and be drawn out for a significantly longer period of time than a non-military divorce. Other considerations include how to serve legal documents. If the military spouse is overseas, there could be legal hurdles that you must overcome before obtaining your divorce.
How long a spouse was married is very important in a military divorce, and calculating the length of marriage is governed by Federal law. The non-military spouse receives benefits based upon the length of marriage. in addition to dividing the military pension through DFAS, and perhaps dividing a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the issues of health insurance, home loans, and commissary privileges may need to be discussed.
If you have questions about this unique area of law- military divorce, please call our office for a consultation. Our experienced attorneys have helped hundreds of military families navigate the confusing process of military divorce. We can help you, too.
Custody Battles for the Military
Military personnel having a grueling schedule, which includes waking up early to get to the base, participating in military exercises, and enduring multiple deployments. This makes it difficult to have a meaningful participation in their children’s day-to-day activities.
California encourages both parents to spend as much time as they can with their children. For this reason, most families are able to work out a visitation schedule that takes into consideration the enlisted person’s duties. Frequently, when the military parent is home, he or she will get a little extra time with the children to make up for the periods of time he or she is unavailable. If you need help with custody or visitation, please call our office for a consultation. We understand the demands on a military family and can help you solve your custody issues.
When calculating child support, military paychecks taxable salary, and non-taxable benefits such as Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) and a food allowance (BAQ) must be taken into consideration. Furthermore, there may be other entitlements, such as disability pay, deployment income, educational benefits, must be considered. This is why it is important to retain an attorney who understands military families, their emotional challenges, and the unique legal issues surrounding their lives. Call us now for a consultation. We can help.