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Understanding Military Divorce Laws in Orange County, California

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2014 | Divorce


California military divorce is often more complicated, legally speaking, than civilian divorce.

This post will address a few of the salient laws and issues. Per the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, your divorce can be postponed when a service member is overseas or otherwise on duty. The court has discretion to postpone it. An active duty service member can waive the postponement if he or she wishes.

In order to file a military divorce in California, either spouse has to either be stationed in or reside in California. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) outlines rights and special protections for military ex-spouses. In some cases, a retired military service member’s pay can be directly sent to an ex-spouse. However, the marriage had to last ten years or longer, and the service member had to have been on active duty during that time.

In terms of alimony and child support, California law says that any such awards cannot be more than 60% of the service member’s allowances and pay. If you want to get a divorce from an active duty spouse in California, you need to serve that spouse with a copy of the divorce action as well as a summons. In the event that the divorce is uncontested, the spouse on active duty can just sign a waiver affidavit: in other words, a formal summons may not be necessary.

For help understanding your rights and obligations during a California military divorce, connect with the Demmerle & Dinnebier team today to talk with our seasoned team.