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Bay Area Family Attorneys > San Francisco Military Divorce Attorney

San Francisco Military Divorce Attorney

Marriages where one or both spouses are a member of the military are statistically more likely to end in divorce than civilian marriages. The stress of a military career often takes its toll on family life. This stress can also extend to the divorce process itself, as there are often special considerations that must be made for a servicemember’s situation.

The San Francisco military divorce attorney at Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP can advise and guide you through this difficult time. Our California family law team understands the unique challenges faced by military families. That is why we offer specific guidance in federal and military laws that can affect your rights in a California divorce case.

Military vs. Civilian Divorces in California

Divorce is a matter of state law. There are, however, certain federal statutes that may come into play when a party to a divorce is a member of the United States armed forces. Some examples include:

  • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can extend certain legal deadlines imposed by California law for responding to a lawsuit seeking a divorce. The Act can also prevent a California court from issuing a default judgment against a servicemember who is unable to appear at trial while on active duty. In effect, the Act can stay a divorce proceeding indefinitely to prevent a divorce case from proceeding while the servicemember spouse remains on active deployment.
  • The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act allows a California court to award a civilian spouse part of a servicemember spouse’s military pension as part of the normal division of property in a divorce case. In most cases, the military spouse must complete at least 20 years of service and been married to the non-serving spouse for at least 10 years that overlapped with 10 years of their military service.
  • After divorce, former spouses of servicemembers may still be entitled to receive no-cost health care benefits under the armed services’ TRICARE.

Another potential complicating factor in a military divorce is where to file. Normally, California law requires at least one spouse to live in the state for 6 months–and their county of residency for at least 3 months–before the state’s courts may assert jurisdiction over a divorce filing. But a California court can only assert jurisdiction over a military pension if the servicemember spouse either consents to California’s jurisdiction or previously established residence in California for a reason other than their military deployment.

Reach Out to Our San Francisco Military Divorce Attorney

In addition to the issues discussed above, military divorces can also raise special challenges when it comes to other subjects such as establishing child custody and visitation as well as spousal support. This is why it is essential to work with a qualified San Francisco military divorce attorney. If you need to speak with an attorney right away, call Cardwell Steigerwald Young LLP today at 415-259-5885 to schedule a consultation with a member of our California family law team.

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