When you want to file for divorce, there are many steps you must meet before it is finalized. However, this process looks a little different for those serving in the nation’s armed forces due to the nature of their job. As such, couples going through military divorces should familiarize themselves with this process, as there are slight differences that can vary from a traditional divorce. Keep reading to learn the differences and discover how a Los Angeles divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex process.
What Are the Requirements for Military Divorces?
You must meet the residency requirements when you or your spouse file for divorce. In California, you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months and in your current county for three months.
However, as many military members are frequently restationed around the country, it can be confusing to know where you should file for a divorce. As such, military members have more flexibility in where they can file. This includes:
- The state where you are stationed
- The state where you last resided for at least six months
- The state where you file taxes
- The state your spouse lives in
It’s also important to note that the law protects active military members who are served divorce papers. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects those who may not be able to respond or appear in court from incurring a default judgment by providing a 90-day delay to proceedings or granting a stay. A stay halts the proceedings due to their active duty, and the service member will provide alternative availability dates.
However, if both spouses agree to the divorce, the active member may give their written consent to proceed with the divorce.
What Happens to a Pension?
In general, a military pension is treated as marital property and is subject to equal division under California’s community property laws. This is the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act states these assets are subject to division according to the laws of the state.
If you were married for ten years and your spouse served for ten years, your portion of their pension will be paid directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. You will receive this payment until either spouse passes away. Remarriage does not impact the right to a military pension.
Divorce can be overwhelming due to the number of considerations you must make. However, this only becomes more complex when one spouse is in the military. As such, it’s essential to enlist the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney. At Zitser Family Law, our dedicated legal team is ready to guide you through this process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.