Complexities of Military Divorce

military member reading a letter

Divorces can often be complex when you consider child custody, spousal support, and high valued assets. As a military member, it can be overwhelming to learn that divorce has even more complexities with your military status due to state residency requirements and the division of military benefits.

Residency Requirements to File for Divorce

As a military member, you may move often or have moved recently. When filing for divorce, one member of the divorcing couple must have achieved residency by living in California for at least six months and then the county of filing for at least three months. Only one member of the couple will need to be a resident of California to file in the state. However, obtaining residency may be difficult for military members who have recently moved, as they may not reach residency requirements.

If the couple does not meet California’s residency requirements to file for divorce, they may need to either wait until they do reach residency requirements to file or file for divorce in a state where at least one member of the divorcing couple has state residency.

Child Custody Considerations

Child custody may become more complex when one or both parents are military members. Parental rights will be protected, so even if one party is deployed, they still retain their parental rights to their child. However, the court may consider appointing a legal guardian for the children, often a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, if both parents will be deployed at the same time. You should rest assured that your deployment will not be enough to adjust your child custody order and you will retain your custody order granted by the court.

Division of Military Benefits

As a military spouse, you may be concerned about retaining your health insurance and retirement savings following your divorce. Former military spouses are only entitled to a portion of their service member’s retirement pay if their marriage lasted at least 10 years, with a 10-year overlap of the military member’s service, known as the 10/10 Rule.

However, for health insurance and other military benefits, the couple must follow the 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 rule, where the marriage lasted at least 20 years, with 20 years of service, and either 15 or 20 years of overlap. Marriages with over 20 years of overlap will entitle former spouses to lifetime health insurance, access to commissary and military hospitals unless enrolled in another insurance plan or the party remarries, while marriages with only 15 years will only be entitled to one year of health insurance and access to military hospitals.

Murrieta Military Divorce Lawyer

If you are a military member and considering divorce, call our military divorce lawyer at Law Offices of Michael D. Iverson, APC today to learn more about how we can represent you in this time of major change.

Are you a military member seeking a divorce? Schedule a case consultation with our military divorce lawyer today by calling (951) 418-2770 or contacting us online.

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