San Diego Military Divorce Attorneys
Divorce can be complicated for anyone, but if you are a member of the United States military, additional factors come into play, making it absolutely essential to be represented by a San Diego divorce attorney with extensive experience in military divorces.
Timeframe for a Military Divorce
Marital situations in the military are varied. One or both spouses may be service members, and either or both may be on active duty, in the National Guard, in the reserves, or retired. This can affect the time frame of the divorce, particularly if either or both spouses are deployed on active duty or stationed permanently in another country.
Residency and Service of Process
Military divorces have different requirements from California civilian divorces, including those pertaining to residency requirements and service of process on a spouse who is on active duty. The law makes provisions for delays in service of process when the spouse being served is stationed abroad.
Child and Spousal Support
The California court in which you bring your divorce action will determine if an award of spousal support (alimony) is appropriate. While spousal support is not required by federal law governing military divorces, a member of the military cannot be required to pay any amount in excess of 60 percent of his or her pay and allowances in combined child support and spousal support.
Military Retirement Benefits
Perhaps the most significant factor complicating military divorces is that military retirement pension, by federal law, is deemed to be marital property; however, the law leaves it to the state where the divorce is filed to determine a fair distribution of the pension between the parties. Your lawyer will need to understand the United State Former Military Spouse Act with its nuances and implications, as well as how the Act is implemented in California.
Complications with a Survivor Benefit Plan
If a member of the military has chosen to protect a spouse from losing retirement pay upon the member’s death by opting for a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), this can create a further complication in a divorce. An SPB is a type of annuity that continues to provide benefits to a surviving spouse after the service member’s death. Although a California court may order that a divorcing spouse is entitled to the proceeds of a Survivor Benefit Plan, unless the military member has retired following 20 years of service, the benefits will not be paid to a former spouse upon his or her death. Furthermore, if the service member has been married more than once during the term of service, only one former spouse will be entitled to survivor benefits. Other regulations apply to these survivor benefits as well, so it is important that your attorney understands these.
A San Diego Law Firm with Military Divorce Expertise
As you can see, there are many considerations in a military divorce that simply do not apply in a civilian one. If you are a member of the military stationed in the San Diego area and are facing a divorce, choose a law firm that handles these complicated cases regularly. You will find the expertise you need at the Boyd Law Firm, where our skilled and compassionate San Diego based family law attorneys understand the differences and similarities between civilian and military divorce and are able to guide you through the military divorce process in the most efficient and stress-free manner possible. Contact Boyd Law to speak with one of our experienced military divorce attorneys to discover how we can effectively assist you with the dissolution of your marriage.