Skilled Military Divorce Attorneys in Santa Monica, California

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At Fernandez & Karney, our Santa Monica family law attorneys know that California military divorces differ from other divorces due to the interplay of federal and state laws, jurisdictional challenges, division of military benefits, and unique child custody and support issues. These complex matters require specialized legal experience to navigate successfully.

In addition, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides specific protections for active-duty military members, such as postponing court proceedings and default judgments. This can affect the timeline and process of a California divorce. If you, your spouse, or both are in the U.S. Armed Forces, our skilled Los Angeles County military divorce lawyers will walk you through the legal process so you understand your legal rights and options to pursue the best outcome for your unique circumstances.

Our firm’s size and legal infrastructure are not just about managing cases. They are about efficiently managing your case, thus minimizing the cost and time associated with even the most complex legal disputes. With knowledgeable attorneys boasting over 120 years of combined legal experience, we are highly experienced in dealing with every aspect of a California divorce, giving you the confidence that your case is in capable hands. Our unique approach to each case sets us apart, tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

Meet with one of our skilled military divorce attorneys in Santa Monica during a confidential consultation today to learn more about our approach to these specialized family law cases. Fernandez & Karney is a full-service family law firm that can assist you with any family law matter, regardless of its complexity.

Understanding the Military Divorces Proceeding in Santa Monica, CA

Why California Military Divorces Required Specialized Legal Representation

Military divorces in California are unique for several reasons, including the complexities of dividing military benefits and the logistical challenges of frequent relocations and deployments.

Our Santa Monica military divorce lawyers can handle each detail of your case, even in your absence when necessary, including factors involving:

  • Child Custody and Visitation: Frequent relocations and deployments can complicate child custody arrangements, and the courts must consider the child’s best interests while accommodating the service member’s duty requirements. Special custody arrangements may be needed to address the service member’s deployment schedule, including temporary modifications and long-distance visitation plans.
  • Military Retirement Pay: Dividing military retirement pay requires understanding the specific rules and regulations, including the 10/10 rule: ten years of marriage overlapping with ten years of military service for direct payment from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA): The USFSPA allows state courts to treat military retirement pay as marital property, which can be divided between spouses. It also affects the calculation and division of military benefits.
  • Retirement and Disability Pay: Understanding the impact of military disability pay on the division of assets and support obligations is essential, as disability pay is typically not divisible in a divorce.
  • TRICARE: Former spouses may be eligible for continued TRICARE coverage if they meet specific criteria under the 20/20/20 rule: 20 years of marriage, 20 years of military service, and 20 years of overlap between the two. Addressing post-divorce health insurance coverage is essential, especially if the former spouse does not meet the TRICARE eligibility criteria.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP): Decisions regarding the SBP, which provides ongoing income to a former spouse after the service member’s death, must be addressed during the divorce.
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): Similar to a civilian 401(k), the division of a TSP requires specific legal procedures and knowledge of military regulations.
  • Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): The BAH and other allowances the service member receives are considered income and can affect child and spousal support calculation.
  • Deployment and Income: Deployments can result in fluctuating income due to additional pay and allowances, complicating the calculation of support payments.

Dividing assets during a military divorce involves several unique considerations due to the specific rules and regulations governing military benefits and compensation. California military divorces require attorneys with expertise in family law and military regulations to navigate the unique aspects of these cases.

In addition, California requires at least one spouse to have lived in the state for six months and in the county where the divorce is filed for three months before filing. However, this requirement is often waived for military families due to their unique circumstances. We can help you understand the military divorce residency requirements and exceptions and the appropriate jurisdiction for filing the divorce, which can be complex, especially if the service member is deployed or stationed overseas, so you understand all your options before taking the first step toward dissolving your marriage.

Our experienced Santa Monica family law attorney specializes in military divorces to ensure compliance with all legal requirements and navigate the process effectively.


Contact Our Experienced Santa Monica Military Divorce Attorney

Whether you are a service member or a civilian spouse, you must have legal representation to protect your rights and interests. We can help, starting with an initial consultation.

Our law firm founder and managing partners, Steven Fernandez is a Certified Family Law Specialists by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, and has the experience and resources to provide you with the quality legal representation you want and deserve.

Do not allow your legal burdens and the complexities of a military divorce to weigh you down. Let Fernandez & Karney shoulder your concerns and legal issues so you can confidently move forward.