Divorce is typically a difficult process for one to endure no matter who
you are, but for those who are active duty military members, it can be
a little more complicated. A
military divorce is not the same as those between civilians. Given that active military
members can potentially live anywhere throughout the country or the world
during stationing, they can run into issues even when deciding where to
file, whereas civilian spouses would file for a divorce in the county
in which they live. If you or your spouse is an active duty military member
and are considering a
divorce, there are some things you should know about the process and what to expect.
Filing for Divorce
Military spouses must file for divorce where the service member is stationed,
or in the state in which he or she is a resident. To file for a divorce
in California, one of the spouses must either reside in or be stationed
in the state. If a spouse files for divorce while the other is on active
duty for an extended period of time, however, the laws are a bit different.
The spouse who did not file for the divorce will have to receive a summons
as well as a divorce application just as he or she would in a civilian
divorce. Unlike a divorce between civilians, however, it might be difficult
to get these documents to a deployed spouse.
Given that the spouse is an active member of the military, the courts cannot
hold that person in default. On the other hand, in a non-military divorce,
no response would prompt a default process or an uncontested divorce.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows the court to delay divorce
proceedings throughout the spouse’s active duty, but he or she also
has the right to waive the postponement of the divorce process. If he
or she chooses to waive the postponement of the divorce, it would be wise
to hire an attorney to protect his or her rights during the proceedings.
Child Custody for Military Parents
Just as divorce is slightly more complex for military spouses,
child custody agreements can also be a bit more complicated. Military parents are expected
to consider the effects of possible deployments and reassignments when
working out a custody agreement. For most divorcing spouses, parents usually
cannot remove a child to another state without violating the custody order,
but this is not the case for military parents. Since they are aware of
the possibility of moving out of state, provisions can be included in
the custody agreement regarding visitation in the event that the military
parent is deployed.
Ultimately, the fact that one parent is in the military should not have
a negative impact on custody arrangements, in theory. If it is in the
children’s best interests to reside with the military parent, then
that is where they should be placed. That said, to ensure the best possible
outcome for your case, it is crucial to hire a family law attorney who
is experienced in handling these types of cases.
Military Divorce in San Diego
At Claery & Hammond, LLP, our San Diego military divorce attorneys
listen carefully to our clients’ concerns to deliver quality legal
services for their family law issues. If you or your spouse is a member
of the U.S. military, you must seek the assistance of an experienced divorce
attorney to help you navigate the complexities that are often involved
in such cases.
Reach out to us today and give us a call at
(619) 567-6704 to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.
We represent military men and women stationed in Camp Pendleton, Miramar,
Coronado, Point Loma, and other military stations in the San Diego area.