Military Divorce

Contact me for a free half-hour consultation regarding any family law or criminal defense matter.


1 (858) 922-7098

Military service woman hugging a child

Military divorce in San Diego is relatively common among military families that have moved several times in a short period, but it presents some unique challenges.

As a military divorce lawyer serving families in San Diego, I offer services to members of the military stationed in the area. Together, we’ll cover complicated issues, ranging from the distribution of property to child custody and spousal child support. I will take the necessary steps to ensure you achieve the best outcome for you and your family. 

Where Do Military Personnel Get Divorced?

If you are one of the 95,000 soldiers planning to divorce, where exactly do you need to go for your issues to be judicially determined?

Hint: For a military divorce in California, it’s probably not the nearest courthouse.

To get the proper answer in your case, all you have to do is tell me how long you and your spouse have resided in California, specifically in the area of San Diego County. I can then point you in the right direction for your divorce filing. 

How Long Does a Military Divorce Take?

Certain protections affect how long you need to wait before proceeding with a military divorce in San Diego. Federal laws, such as the SCRA and USFSPA, take precedence. For service men and women, all court proceedings are in deferment until active duty concludes. Post-service, they receive an additional 90-day grace period. 

Serving a military spouse on active duty is challenging. Someone above the age of 18 and not involved in the case must deliver the official papers for you. This rule complicates matters when the spouse is difficult to locate or is stationed out of state or overseas.

Another aspect to consider is residency. In California, one spouse must have lived here for at least six months and in the filing county for three months. If a military spouse stations in California for six months, you can file for divorce here. If these requirements are unmet, you must be patient or file in a state where one of you holds residency.

How Can I Help?

If you seek a military divorce in San Diego, it’s important to understand that the process is different from that of civilians. Ordinary citizens deal with the local court system. In contrast, service members must handle issues in-house. Local family law attorneys often are unaware of this reality. The Armed Forces utilizes the USFSPA to determine the calculation and division of military benefits. 

Uniformed Service Former Spouse Protection Act

According to the act, if you divorce a military member and remain unmarried, you may receive theater, exchange, commissary, and medical privileges, if you meet the following criteria (known as the 20-20-20 rule): 

  1. You were married for at least 20 years. 
  2. Your ex-spouse served for 20-plus years that count toward retirement. 
  3. You were married to this person during those 20-plus years of military service. 

Even if you don’t meet this rule’s requirements, you can still take advantage of your health care, commissary, and exchange benefits until the divorce process is over. Also, you can expect to lose your housing within the 30 days following the other party’s moving out due to a military divorce. 

Navigating the Uniformed Service Former Spouse Protection Act can be complicated and overwhelming, which is understandable. The best option is to hire a military divorce lawyer from San Diego early on to avoid unnecessary stress.

Additional Issues Faced By Those Going Through Military Divorces

A military divorce in California requires a skilled attorney. When divorce cases involve assets of high value, overseas properties, or the custody of minor children, expertise is a requirement. A lawyer can help you navigate complex matters and determine the next steps if one of you cannot attend your divorce trial due to duty requirements. 

Because a military divorce can be complicated, personnel stationed in and around San Diego should contact me immediately. Schedule a consultation now to find out how I can protect your unique rights as a military spouse or military member. 

what people say