Palm Springs Military Divorce Lawyer

Palm Springs Military Divorce Attorney

Divorce is already a stressful, painful, and life-altering situation. It is not often something you can prepare for, even if you sense problems in the marriage. Things become even more complex in military divorces. There are many different factors to consider that can make a military divorce a very difficult situation. If you are a military spouse in Palm Springs on the cusp of divorce, it is important to hire a Palm Springs military divorce lawyer to ensure you embark on this journey with a strong advocate on your side.

Palm Springs Military Divorce Lawyer

Military Divorce in California

A divorce is considered a military divorce if either spouse is a member of the United States military. Unlike civilian divorces, there are a number of distinct factors and rules to consider in a military divorce. These rules must be strictly followed if you’d like your divorce to be finalized and approved by the court.

Military divorce is regulated by federal law thanks to two important acts: the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). These acts provide active duty service members with federal protection whenever there is a conflict with California state law. The USFSPA provides ex-spouses with the following protections:

  • Division of retirement pay between service members and spouses.
  • Healthcare at military facilities.
  • Shopping on military bases.
  • Military benefits for victims of spousal or child abuse.
  • Direct payment of military pay from the U.S. government.

Service members who are on active duty are protected against divorce proceedings. If the non-military spouse files for divorce, proceedings will not be taken into consideration until the active duty spouse’s term of service comes to an end. Thanks to the SCRA, divorce proceedings must also be postponed for 90 days after the term of service has ended.

There are certain rules in place for serving divorce papers to an active duty service member.

  • The military spouse must be served the documents in person.
  • The papers must be served by someone over 18 years of age who is an impartial party to the divorce case.
  • If the spouse agrees to it and signs a waiver, you can have the papers mailed to them.

Residency Requirements

To issue a divorce decree, a court must have jurisdiction under California military divorce laws and under the USFSPA. Under California state law, to file for divorce, one of the spouses has to have been living in the state for at least six months and in the filing county for at least three months.

If you are divorcing a service member who has been stationed in California for at least six months, you qualify for divorce. If neither spouse meets the required residency rules, you will have to wait until you do qualify to file for divorce.

Grounds for Military Divorce

There is no need to prove fault or grounds in order to divorce, as every state, including California, offers no-fault divorce. As with civilian divorces, California has two grounds for ending a marriage, as it is a “no-fault divorce” state:

  • Irreconcilable differences: A couple has no desire to stay together for whatever reason. It is not necessary to prove irreconcilable differences in court.
  • Permanent legal incapacity: One of the spouses has a permanent mental illness or instability that makes the marriage impossible to continue. This will require a medical professional to confirm.

In a military divorce, spouses must have a civilian attorney representing them in court. Judge Advocate General (JAG) lawyers cannot file for divorce, but consultations with JAG lawyers are free.


Q: What Is a Military Spouse Entitled to in a Divorce in California?

A: In Palm Springs, CA, the USFSPA protects the rights of former military spouses and provides them with post-divorce benefits. These include retirement benefits, free healthcare, and the use of military base exchanges and commissaries. A spouse of a service member is entitled to a portion of the military spouse’s retirement pay if they were married for at least 10 years with a 10-year overlap with active service.

Q: Is a Military Divorce Different from a Civilian Divorce?

A: There are a number of major differences between military and civilian divorce cases. The military requires spousal and child support payments to begin on the day of separation, but it is still up to the state of California to decide how much those payments will be. Serving papers can be much harder, as they must be served in person. This can be difficult depending on where the service member is stationed. In short, everything in a civilian divorce is a bit more stringent.

Q: Is Military Divorce Hard?

A: Military divorces can certainly be more complex and time-consuming than civilian divorces. There are more legalities to consider than usual, particularly when it comes to dividing retirement benefits and spousal protection. Filing for divorce is slightly different. Overall, it can be a complex situation. That is why it is important to have an experienced military divorce attorney in your corner who can guide you through the divorce process and ensure you leave no stone unturned.

Q: Are Lawyers Needed for Divorce in California?

A: It is entirely possible to get divorced in California without hiring a lawyer. As long as you are familiar with the proper paperwork and procedures, you could divorce by yourself. However, most laypeople lack the necessary knowledge. It is strongly recommended, particularly in a military divorce case, that you at least consult an experienced attorney before making any decisions. It is possible you could misread something or leave out a crucial step that works in your spouse’s favor.

Consult a Palm Springs Military Divorce Attorney Who Can Help

Like a civilian divorce, a military divorce is complicated, painful, and a serious source of stress. However, it is not a situation you have to face alone. At Edgar & Dow, we have a devoted team of attorneys who can guide you through this potentially difficult divorce.

We have the knowledge to make you mentally and financially prepared to handle everything that comes next. Contact us today to schedule a consultation—you do not have to be alone during this complex process.

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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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