Finding the right divorce lawyer to represent you in court can be overwhelming, especially if you or your partner is a member of the United State's military. While getting a military divorce can seem intimidating at first, the actual process isn't nearly as formidable when you have the right divorce lawyer by your side.
After all, a divorce is a very complex and emotionally strenuous issue even under the best circumstances. When one or both spouses are involved in the military, factors such as child custody and visitation, can make divorce matters much more complicated.
Even though you may be feeling stressed, it's important that you take the time to learn as much as you can about getting a military divorce in central California. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be to get a military divorce agreement that best suits your specific needs. Keep reading to learn everything you need to consider before getting a military divorce.
Where Should The Divorce Be Filed?
If you or your spouse is in the military, chances are your family moves around a lot. With military families estimated to on average move three times more than non-military families, it's no surprise that divorcing military couples can feel confused about which state to file for divorce in.
Three common options divorcing military couples have are:
- The state where the spouse filing for divorce currently lives.
- The state where the military spouse is currently stationed in.
- The state where the military spouse is a legal resident in.
Think carefully before you choose which state you want to file for your military divorce. Each option can impact your case results in a different way. For example, federal law dictates that the state in which the military spouse legally lives will always have the power to divide the military spouse's pension while another state may not have this power.
If you are choosing to file your military divorce in Monterey, California, make sure you review all of the pros and cons of divorcing in the state of California. Weigh your options carefully with your military divorce lawyer before you finalize this important decision.
What If A Spouse Is Deployed?
While the process of a military divorce is similar to a standard divorce, there are key factors that can make a military divorce more complicated. If you or your spouse are currently deployed, the divorce process could take much longer than the average divorce. This is due to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Under the power of SCRA, a military spouse is protected from certain lawsuits, including divorces. This is so they are able to entirely focus their attention on the defense needs of the country. What does this mean for a divorcing military couple? It means under certain requirements, an active duty military spouse has the right to request a stay of divorce proceedings. The first stay can pause divorce proceedings for up to ninety days. After the initial stay, additional stays can be added on in ninety-day extensions.
However, stays cannot be continued indefinitely. They are solely meant to give the active duty spouse a chance to complete their current military duties before attending domestic divorce matters.
What If The Couple Is Using Military Housing?
Military housing can be an intricate divorce detail to consider. If a marriage has deteriorated to the point where it is necessary for one spouse to leave the military housing the couple shares, the military spouse does not have the right to evict the non-military spouse. In fact in these cases, it’s common for the military base staff to provide temporary dormitory housing for the partner in the military.
By law, this gives the non-military spouse thirty days to vacate the military property and find a new residential housing option.
What Type Of Legal Representation Are Both Parties Entitled To?
Regardless of which branch of the military you or your spouse serves under, both parties are provided access to legal assistant attorneys. These attorneys are usually available within the convenience of military bases and can assist you and your spouse with several tasks, including:
- Writing Letters
- Providing Legal Advice
- Editing and Revising Legal Documents
Don’t forget, you also have the ability to find you own legal representation. If you are low-income, you may be able to receive financial assistance. If you’d prefer to work with someone more local, interview divorce lawyers with years of work experience in your county.
How Will Child Custody Be Divided?
As with every divorce involving children, the courts will award custody to the parent who is better able to provide a healthy and stable environment for the children involved. Because of this, it is much more likely for the non-military parent to be awarded full child custody.
However, this does not mean military parents are without certain legal protections. For example, a custody modification cannot be solely based on a parent's absence or relocation due to military service activation or deployment out of state.
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