Any divorce is challenging. However, a military divorce carries unique challenges on top of the more common divorce disputes. What state and court has jurisdiction over the military divorce? How will military retirement benefits be divided? If the civilian spouse is moving, how will that affect child custody and child support?
At Virginia H. Gaburo & Associates, we can answer your questions and help you through your military divorce, no matter what challenges you face.
Why Hire a Civilian Attorney?
JAG lawyers can give a military spouse general information about divorce, and help find the necessary forms to file. Military lawyers, however, are neither competent nor permitted to give specific legal advice, or to guide a spouse through complicated contested proceedings. Where child custody, visitation, child support or spousal support are at issue, both the military and the non-military spouse may need independent, civilian, counsel of their own.
San Diego military divorce lawyer Virginia Gaburo has more than two decades of experience helping clients resolve their divorces and other legal issues. She is respected for her integrity, aggressive advocacy and for being straightforward with her clients.
Don’t settle for mediocrity. Contact Virginia Gaburo today.
Division of Military Retirement Benefits
In California, military retirement benefits are considered community property to the extent that the benefits were earned during the marriage. Usually, the court will divide the number of years of marriage by the total years of military service to determine the percentage of military benefits that are community property. For example, if the service member spouse was in the service for 20 years and married for 10 of those years, 1/2 of the military retirement benefits will be considered a community asset and will be included in division of the community property.
There is a common misconception that you have to have been married for 10 years before military benefits become community property. This is not true. You have to have been married for 10 years for DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) to divide and pay a portion of the benefits directly to the civilian spouse. However, even if you were married for less than 10 years, a court can still order the military spouse to pay the other spouse a portion of the retirement benefits each month as they are received.
Determining Residency of Service Members
The state in which a military spouse is stationed does not automatically become his or her residence. In fact, it is often the case that a service member maintains residency in his or her home state by keeping a driver’s license there, voting there or otherwise showing a desire to stay a resident of that state.
This can have a significant effect on your case. If the service member has residency in Oregon, for example, he or she can resist being sued for divorce and/or dividing retirement benefits in California, even if he or she has been stationed in California for years. And even if the military spouse initiates a dissolution of marriage proceeding in a California court, he or she can still reserve residency rights in order to require that the division of military benefits must be done in Oregon.
Child Custody and Military Divorce
Service members are not in control of their location and may be forced to move at any time. Similarly, the civilian spouse may decide to move back home. This is one of the biggest concerns involving military divorce with children. How will child custody and visitation be decided? San Diego military divorce lawyer Virginia Gaburo can talk to you about your individual situation to help you negotiate a child custody arrangement that is in your child’s best interests.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you are considering a military divorce, or if you are involved in a California military divorce proceeding, contact the family law offices of Virginia H. Gaburo & Associates by calling 858-546-0183.