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Camp Pendleton Military Divorce Attorneys
Ryan Family Law

Camp Pendleton military divorce attorney, Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Paul. J. Ryan brings decades of active military service and 27-years of family law and military divorce experience to military families.

Military members and the spouses of military service members based at Camp Pendleton and other local military bases are well-served by Ryan Family Law’s caring and compassionate attorneys. Ryan Family Law has three offices in San Diego County including a Carlsbad office location that are easily accessible to most military members and their spouses.

We help military members from all branches understand the law so they know their rights and give them confidence that we will help them achieve the best possible results.

Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force hike nearly 5 miles from Camp Las Flores to Red Beach aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 5, 2014.  Camp Pendleton Military Divorce Attorneys at Ryan Family Law

Founder and managing attorney of Ryan Family Law, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Paul J. Ryan has decades of actual military service followed by attending law school then becoming an attorney of nearly 30 years focused on helping military members and families.

A significant 40% of our clients are military members and spouses of service members.

Experience matters!

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How To File for a Military Divorce?

Generally, the law allows filing for divorce in the state where the husband or wife has a legal residence. The spouse initiating the divorce will typically file in the state where he or she lives and is considered the legal residence of one or both parties. Different states can differ in how that state handles the division of military pensions. When you call Lt Col Paul J Ryan (ret.) for a no-cost initial consultation, he can advise you of and choices you might have as to where to file and why.

According to federal law, the state of the legal residence of the military member always has the power to divide the military pension in a divorce. That means, if the non-military spouse files for divorce in a state that is his or her legal residence and not the legal residence of the spouse, the court might not have the authority to divide the pension.

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Where To File for a Military Divorce?

Where to file for a military divorce sometimes depends on whether you are the military member or the spouse of a military member.

Military service men and women or their spouses have choices as to which jurisdiction they can file for divorce. Military service members or their spouse can file for divorce in the state where the military member claims legal residence, the state where the non-military spouse resides, or file in the state where the military service member is stationed. Choosing jurisdiction is tricky and can affect the outcome of your divorce, pension and other benefits. You are always welcome to call us at (858) 222-6600 so we can help you plan a strategy best for your unique situation.

Important – An active-duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for a California court to have jurisdiction over the active military member. A military member may elect to file a waiver affidavit, stating that they are aware of the divorce action, should a couple come to agreeance for an uncontested divorce.

There are California Residency Requirements for Filing a Camp Pendleton military divorce:

  • The service member or their spouse must reside in California
  • The service member or their spouse must be stationed in California
  • Military relocations.
  • Child custody and visitation.
  • Child support & spousal support.
  • Modification of existing court orders.
  • Division of military benefits in divorce.
  • Paternity – (married or not, mother or father, please do not procrastinate)
    • We assist service members,
    • or people who have had relationships with service members with paternity tests and,
    • the establishment or denial of legally binding paternity.

Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act

Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act

Military divorce is somewhat different from civilian divorce. For example, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SCRA), allows the divorce process can be postponed for the entire time that a service member is on active duty and for up to 60 days thereafter. The SCRA’s purpose is to protect deployed service members from any civil obligations while they are on duty, so that they can focus on serving command and country without distraction.

US Navy training - Camp Pendleton Military Divorce Attorneys - Ryan Family Law

Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)

Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act

Unlike a civilian divorce, there are multiple complications to address when a military member or his/her spouse decides to end their marriage.

Most of these complications are focused on health care benefits, continued eligibility for the commissary, exchange, and the service member’s retirement pay. These varied issues are addressed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), which is a guidebook on how to divide benefits and pensions.

uniformed services-former spouse protection act - Camp Pendleton Military Divorce Attorneys

Military Disposable Retired Pay is Treated Like a Civilian Pension

How military pensions are marital property that can be divided in a divorce is stipulated in The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, State courts, including California, are granted under the USFSPA, the right to choose how or whether to divide military retirement in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. San Diego and other California family courts usually treat military retired pay as they do a civilian pension plan in that it can be equitably divided during property settlement.

Every state has statutes on how military retired pay is to be divided. Welcome to the USFSPA’s 10/10 rule. The 10/10 rule is simple. There must have been a minimum 10-years of marriage which overlap with 10-years of the military spouses’ service.

Then there is the 20/20/20 rule! What is a 20-year overlap of marriage and military service?

An un-remarried former spouse may retain the military ID card if he or she meets the 20/20/20 rule. That means a 20/20/20 spouse might be eligible to continue complete health care benefits under TRICARE and continue to enjoy commissary and exchange privileges after the divorce is finalized. The 20/20/20 rule requires at least twenty years of marriage, at least twenty years of military service, and at least twenty years of overlap of the marriage and the military service.

Like the 10/10 and 20/20/20 rules, in a 20/20/15 marriage, the marriage and service term need to overlap between 15 and 20 years. If so, the former spouse is then entitled full coverage – but only for one year. After that, reduced cost coverage through the Department of Defense is available.

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Considerations of a Military Divorce

If you are a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard — or if you are married to a service member — your divorce will have a few additional considerations. These include:

  • the benefits you are entitled to,
  • the rules having to do with those benefits
  • effects of deployment may affect your divorce proceedings.
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines & Coast Guard Logos / badges - Ryan Family Law
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard

Big Decisions… Paul Ryan can Personally Help You Brainstorm Your Choices

Worry & Anxiety – Most people fretting about a military divorce cannot visualize what that will look like or how it plays out. At Ryan Family Law, we believe in talking honestly with callers considering divorce, so they know what (1) to expect after choosing to file for divorce, or (2) if you have been served divorce papers, what to expect in the weeks ahead.

We help our clients understand the law so they know their rights and give them confidence that we will help them achieve the best possible results.

We offer a no charge consultation where we discuss the issues you face and strategize with you about the best approaches to meet your goals.

If you are considering reaching out to Paul J. Ryan, do so early. Do so today. If you cannot speak by phone, reach out online and let Paul know you need to talk to him. Remember, Paul is a skilled Camp Pendleton military divorce attorney with years of actual military service and nearly 30-years of divorce and family law experience in the local family law courts. He’ll make the journey as stress-free and affordable as possible. Remember too, the 20% discount offered to fellow service members.

Husband and wife having a difficult relationship day. Camp Pendleton Military Divorce Attorneys - Ryan Family Law

Every case is unique. We are seasoned San Diego divorce attorneys who know how to protect your rights and interests during a military divorce proceeding. We also know the importance of the myriad of military benefits, which is why we use our in-depth knowledge of family law and military divorce law to find a resolution that works for you.

Paul Ryan and his team are experienced military divorce attorneys in San Diego. We are known and respected for our compassion with clients and maximum advocacy for our client’s rights in the courtroom. When you want lawyers who will have your back, turn to our firm.

To schedule a FREE consultation, call (858) 222-6600 or contact us online to schedule a divorce strategy session with San Diego divorce attorney, Lt Col (ret.) Paul J. Ryan, Esq. today.

** Photo attribution re: Camp Pendleton Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion 5-mile hike image. Accolades to Lance Cpl. Ricardo Hurtado.

I’ve been working with Paul Ryan on a difficult case for over a year and he has been a God-send. He is smart, personable, very down to earth and a fighter. I had two terrible experiences previously with different SD firms, and hiring Paul has been a welcome breath of fresh air. I would highly recommend Paul, especially for active duty military and veterans.

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