Military Divorces: What Makes Them Unique

by | Oct 27, 2021 | Divorce, Military

California has the most military bases in the country, so it is no surprise that family lawyers often see military members seeking a divorce or dealing with the consequences of one. Although military divorces are similar in many ways to civilian divorces, they also differ in significant areas. This is where hiring an attorney who is experienced in military divorces will help you and make a stressful process a little less so.

How Can A Military Member Get A Divorce?
California can acquire subject matter jurisdiction over a divorce if one party has been a resident for at least 6 months before filing the petition for dissolution. In the context of personal jurisdiction however, divorce can be complicated (for example, if both spouses or the respondent spouse is stationed overseas). When this is the case, the respondent spouse must have “minimum contacts” with the state, as required by the case, International Shoe Company v State of Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945). Oftentimes, a service member’s domicile (where they reside and intend to live in the future), is the state where they entered the military, absent proof to the contrary. There are other ways a court can establish personal jurisdiction, including consent by that party.

What Are The Benefits?
When entering into a military divorce, there are several benefits that are available to spouses. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), state courts determine how a pension is divided. The USFSPA limits the former spouse to receive no more than 50 percent of disposable retired pay from the government, subject to property divided in the divorce. Another benefit under the USFSPA is that a former service member’s spouse is eligible for medical, commissary, and exchange privileges. But this is only possible if certain conditions are met, including the marriage lasting for at least 20 years. However, benefits can only be sought when the former spouse is single, and has not remarried. If a spouse remarries after a military divorce, eligibility benefits cease. However, they can be revived if the next marriage ends in death or divorce.

Why You Should Hire A Lawyer
Though military divorces can be similar in many ways to civilian divorces, issues involving property division become very complex. Only a small select few were listed above. This is why hiring an attorney experienced in this area is crucial. The attorneys at Butler Law, PC are well-versed in military divorces. Contact our office for more information on how you our attorneys can help you.