San Diego Military Divorce attorneys serving Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar & all of San Diego County from three local offices.
San Diego Military Divorce Attorney for Service Members & Spouses
If you are a military member or the spouse of a military service member and divorce seems imminent, you need a highly experienced San Diego military divorce attorney on your side to help you through the complex legal process with added complexities facing military and federal employees.
San Diego military divorce lawyer, Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Paul J. Ryan, founder of Ryan Family Law can help you file for divorce whether you are the military service member or the spouse of a military member.
How To File for a Military Divorce?
The law generally allows the filing for divorce to take place in the state where the husband or wife has a legal residence. Because of this, the person initiating the divorce will typically file in the state where he or she lives when it is the legal residence of one or both parties. This is hardly unique to military divorce. What is unique, however, is how the state handles the division of military pensions.
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. Therefore, 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.
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, women or their spouses have choices as to which jurisdiction they can file for divorce. Military service member or 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 and 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.
There are California Residency Requirements for Filing a Military Divorce:
- The service member or their spouse must reside in California
- The service member or their spouse must be stationed in California
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.
MEET: Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) & Attorney Paul J. Ryan, Esq.
Paul Ryan, Marine Corps Lt Col (ret)
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.
Perfect 10.0 Rating on Avvo
Other Important Legal Issues to Brainstorm confidentially w/ Paul J. Ryan
Spouse-Related Family Law Matters to Discuss and Strategize:
- Military relocations.
- Child custody and visitation.
- Child support & spousal support.
- Modification of existing court orders.
- Division of military benefits in divorce.
NON-Spouse Legal Issues to Discuss, Learn Your Rights and Strategize a Plan:
- 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 significantly different from civilian divorce. 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.
Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA)
Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act
There are numerous issues, unlike a civilian divorce, to address when a military member or his/her spouse decides to end their marriage.
Most of these issues are focused on continued eligibility for the commissary, exchange, health care benefits, and the service member’s retirement pay. These complex issues are addressed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), which is a guidebook on how to divide benefits and pensions.
Military Disposable Retired Pay is Treated Like a Civilian Pension
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act stipulates that military pensions are marital property that can be divided in a divorce. Under the USFSPA, state courts, including California, are granted the right to choose how or whether to divide military retirement in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Local family courts often treat military retired pay as they do a civilian pension plan for example, it could be divided during property settlement.
USFSPA’s 10/10 Rule
Nearly every state has statutes on how military retired pay is to be divided. Beware of the USFSPA’s 10/10 rule. The actual rule is simple. There must have been a minimum 10-years of marriage which overlap with 10 years of the military spouses’ service.
USFSPA’s 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 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.
USFSPA’s 20/20/15 Variant
In a 20/20/15 marriage, where the marriage and service term overlap between 15 – 20 years, the former spouse is entitled full coverage for one year only. After that, reduced cost coverage through the Department of Defense is available.
Put Our Experience to Work for You
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.
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.
Paul Ryan and his team are Experienced San Diego Military Divorce Attorneys
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.