Military & Divorce: What You Need to Know

military and divorce

The military life puts considerable stress on all family members. Frequent moves, long deployments, and the dealing with the emotional after-effects can cause any marriage to go off the rails. It isn’t surprising that military members suffer from a much higher rate of divorce compared to the general population. Getting a divorce while one, or both spouses are in the military can be a bit more complicated than a traditional divorce. West Coast Family Mediation Center has assisted many military members and their spouses in completing their divorce in an amicable way. Here are a few considerations you should know about the military and divorce.

Where Should You File?

With frequent moves, or spouses stationed in a different state than you are residing, the mere act of filing for a divorce can be complex. Typically, you can file for divorce wherever a spouse lives. However, to divide military benefits, like military pensions, you may have to file where your military spouse resides. Failure to file in the right state may prevent the court from having jurisdiction to divide all the assets involved.

Requesting a “Stay”

If an active duty military member is out on deployment or training during a critical time in their divorce, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) can allow them to place a “stay” or hold on the divorce. This initial hold is for 90 days, but the court can extend the time depending on the member’s duties. The purpose is to prevent the court from making orders without the military member being able to state their case. Additionally, the courts will not allow you to complete a default divorce on a spouse who is active duty military.

Wage Garnishment & Military Pay

If the court orders child support, the state’s law will set the terms. California uses a precise calculation that establishes how much child support should be ordered. The child support can be garnished from military pay automatically. If an order for wage garnishment is made, the military spouse should submit the order to the military pay center. Some branch’s process may be more complicated than just submitting a court order. This process can be discussed based on your particular circumstances.

Divorcing while in the military or divorcing a military service member is a challenge. However, with the help of an experienced San Diego mediator, the process can be much smoother than you have anticipated. Call (858) 736-2411 to schedule your appointment today.

Recent Posts