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.