Military Divorce Laws in California
The fact that the family laws applicable to the military divorce cases in California are marked by several unique concerns in comparison with the regular civilian divorce cases implies that specific federal and state laws and guidelines should be followed for the former.
Military protection against divorce litigation in California
California state law exempts the on duty military personnel from providing an immediate response for a divorce petition filed by his or her spouse. The law was designed specifically to protect the military members from being accused of ‘defaulting’ in active divorce litigation. The 50 USC section 521 of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act stipulates that a divorce lawsuit can be postponed for the entire time duration of a military member’s active service and for an additional period of 60 days after that. However, individual military personnel may chose to waive off this postponement in case he wishes to obtain the divorce at the earliest. The law has been enacted to protect the military members serving in a war to be divorced by their spouses without them having any prior knowledge of it.
Serving and summoning an on duty active military spouse
In order for the court of law to have any jurisdiction over an on duty active military personnel, the court is obliged to personally serve the latter with a copy of the divorce petition as well as the summon. In the event of an uncontested divorce case, the on duty spouse need not be served if he/she acknowledges the divorce petition by signing and filing a waiver affidavit.
Division of property
In addition to the typical property division laws of California, the US government further requires the courts of law to exercise the USFSPA or the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act which establishes the guidelines for the evaluation and division of military retirement benefits in the event of a divorce. The Act entitles a former spouse to receive a specific portion of the retirement pay of his or her military partner by means of a direct payment. However, the federal law also states that this distribution of the retirement fund of military official to his former spouse will only be applicable to the couples who have been married for ten or more years, inclusive of the active time served in military.
And last but not the least, in order to file a military divorce in California, either you or your partner should be a resident of the state, or stationed here.
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