If you are considering divorce or are already involved in a California divorce proceeding, there are two things you want to know from your attorney: How much will it cost and how long will it take? Unfortunately, your attorney will not be able to provide you with a definite answer to either of these questions. It all depends on the nature and amount of property involved; on the number and any special problems concerning any children involved; and, most especially, on the nature and number of contested issues. What is certain is that the fewer the disagreements and the more the parties are willing to compromise and agree, the cheaper and the faster their divorce will be.

At the law firm of Virginia H. Gaburo & Associates, San Diego lawyer Virginia Gaburo offers more than 20 years of experience representing clients throughout Southern California in divorce and family law matters. To learn more about what to expect in a California divorce, contact our law firm online or by calling 858-546-0183.

Procedure: What Happens in a California Divorce Proceeding

A divorce, legally described as a marital dissolution proceeding, is a lawsuit. It is initiated by one of the parties filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the family law division of the California Superior Court. The court opens a case, assigns a judge and a case number, and issues a summons directed to the other spouse.

Typically, the other spouse is served with copies of the summons and the petition. He or she must then file a response. Interim orders – orders that will be in place only while the case is pending (for spousal and child support, child custody and visitation, and possession and use of property) – are put in place, either by stipulation of the parties or as ordered by a judge at an Order to Show Cause (“OSC”) hearing.

The parties exchange and respond to requests for documents and information, and serve subpoenas for documents on third parties-i.e., employers, banks, stock brokerage accounts, etc. This process of gathering facts and information relevant to the issues in the case is called “discovery.” When both of the parties have completed discovery, the California divorce case is ready for trial. At trial, the parties put on evidence to support their respective requests. At the end of the trial, the trial judge makes a final ruling on all of the issues presented, judgment pursuant to that ruling is entered, the case is concluded, and the parties are officially divorced.

Settlement Benefits Both Parties

Most marital dissolution cases do not go to trial; of the ones that do, most of the issues have been resolved before trial by agreement of the parties. In fact, ethical and properly motivated California family law attorneys are looking for ways to settle the case and issues that can be resolved by agreement and without litigation from the very first meeting with their client. The proper goal for the attorneys is to facilitate agreement and minimize controversies and conflict, especially where the parties themselves are too emotionally distraught and angry to reach agreement on their own.

Your California Divorce Case Is Unique

Each particular divorce proceeding is unique in the personalities, histories and preferences of the parties; the children and extended families involved; and the property, support, custody and visitation and other issues to be resolved. No one can tell you in advance exactly how your divorce will go. You can expect, however, feelings of hurt, and failure, and a sense of loss of control, and you can look forward to a new beginning and a happier future.

Military Divorce

While military divorces are similar to civilian divorces, there are several differences. For example, you and your spouse will need to divide military benefits. You may also need to determine where the service member legally resides and in what state the children will live after the divorce.

Contact Our San Diego Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, or if you are involved in a California divorce proceeding, contactthe California family law offices of Virginia H. Gaburo & Associates. We will discuss your divorce and what to expect during the divorce proceeding.

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.