Murrieta Military Divorce Lawyer


Navigating a divorce can be difficult, even if it is amicable. The process can be confusing, the paperwork and order of steps can feel overwhelming, and emotions often run high. These stresses can multiply in a military divorce because there are additional regulations that must be followed. If you are facing a divorce as a member of the military or a military spouse, trust the Edgar & Dow for all of your divorce needs.

Divorce in California

Every divorce in the state of California will follow a similar process. There are four major steps that must be completed for a divorce to be finalized. It is important to be aware, however, that there may be additional steps needed throughout the process. The primary aspects of a divorce in California are:

  1. File papers to officially start the divorce: One party must submit the necessary paperwork to the courts for divorce proceedings to begin. Once the papers have been filed, the other spouse must be notified and given the opportunity to respond.
  2. Share necessary information between spouses: During this phase of the process, all financial information for each party will be shared if they are both participating in the divorce.
  3. Finalize all decisions: Once all financial information has been shared, both parties will have to sit down and discuss how everything will be divided. Anything obtained during the marriage must be split equally, so it may take some negotiation to finalize all the details. This is also the time when any spousal support, child support, and child custody details will be decided.
  4. Complete the divorce: After all major decisions have been made, they will be written down in the divorce agreement. The final paperwork will then be submitted to the courts, and, after the mandatory waiting period, the divorce will be finalized.

The specific details and circumstances of each divorce will differ, but they will all follow this similar process. The process is made somewhat easier by the fact that all divorces in California are no-fault divorces. This means that the party filing for divorce does not have to submit any proof of wrongdoing by their spouse to be granted a divorce. While this is the general format for all divorces in California, there are other laws that affect the processes and outcomes of military divorces.

Military Divorce in California

If you are considering divorcing an individual who is in the military, there are certain things that you should be aware of. Some circumstances are under the jurisdiction of federal law rather than state law. A few of the key differences are:

  • File where they are stationed or where they are a resident: This can make the process more difficult if the spouse does not live with them where they are stationed. It can also be confusing when a service member is deployed because it can be difficult to track them down.
  • Serving papers may be more difficult: The military member must be served the papers in person by a neutral third party. This can be a challenge if they are stationed or deployed somewhere that their spouse does not know about. Serving papers can add more time to the process. Military members can also delay the proceedings until they are no longer deployed, which can extend everything.
  • Retirement pay may not be available, depending on the length of the marriage: In military divorces, there are certain regulations regarding the payment of retirement benefits. Only spouses who have been married for a minimum of 20 years, with one spouse serving in the military that entire time, will be entitled to life-time benefits from the military.

If you are facing a military divorce, be prepared for it to take a longer amount of time, particularly if your spouse is deployed or stationed somewhere away from you.

Military Divorce Cases FAQs

Q: What is a military member entitled to in a divorce in California?

A: This is one area where military regulations and California statutes are the same. California follows the guidelines for community property when a marriage is ending. This means that anything that was accrued during the marriage, both assets and debt, is split equally between the spouses. This is not true for debt or assets that each party had prior to the marriage. The one area where military regulations differ is with retirement benefits, which are divided based on the length of the marriage and length of service.

Q: What is the 20/20/20 rule in a military divorce?

A: This rule helps to determine how much of a service member’s retirement pay a military spouse will receive during a divorce. An individual will receive medical, commissary, and exchange benefits for life if their spouse served in the military for 20 years, they were married for 20 years, and the two things overlapped for all 20 years. Only one year of benefits is offered to military spouses if their marriage only overlapped the service for fifteen years or less.

Q: How long does a military divorce take?

A: In the state of California, any divorce will take at least six months to complete. Regardless of how quickly the paperwork can be completed and filed, the state requires a waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. This is true for military and civilian marriages. In certain circumstances, such as a contested divorce, the process may take much longer.

Q: What am I entitled to in a divorce from a military member?

A: An individual who is divorcing a military member in California needs to know what benefits they are entitled to. The divorce will entitle them to half of the property and assets that were purchased or obtained during the marriage because California is a community property state. They may also receive additional benefits, such as medical care, if the marriage lasted for 15 years or more while their spouse was serving in the military.

California Military Divorce Attorney

Even under the best circumstances, the divorce process can be time-consuming and overwhelming. The additional regulations that govern military divorce can make the process take even longer than a civilian case. If you are a military member or a military spouse considering divorce, it is essential that you have all the necessary information. With over a decade of experience, the team at the Edgar & Dow can guide you through your military divorce.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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