Military divorce has significant differences compared to civilian divorce. Briefly, there are two main concerns: Where to file for divorce and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Here is what you need to consider if your spouse is in the military and you decide to file a petition for divorce in California.
Where to File Your Military Divorce
Active military members live throughout the United States and the world. As the spouse who files the petition, you may not be sure where you can file. As a military spouse, you have two choices where you can file for divorce: Where the service member is stationed or the state where you are a resident. If you are a resident of California, you can file your petition for divorce in this state. If you are not yet a legal resident California, you must either wait or your spouse must reside or have a station in the state.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
If you file for divorce while your spouse is deployed (or on active duty) for an extended period, getting these documents to deployed spouses can cause delays. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that protects active-duty military members. The SCRA protects active military members from civil judicial proceedings including divorce summons.
Because this law prevents active members of the military from being able to respond to a divorce action, your military spouse cannot be held in default. A default in divorce means that the spouse that did not answer the summons gets no say in property division or child custody decisions. The SCRA allows the court to delay divorce proceedings as long as the spouse is on active duty. It is reasonable to believe that while on active duty some military personnel may be unable to file a response. Therefore, they are given this protection to the frustration of the spouse who wants to push through the divorce.
There are several other ways that military and civil divorce differ. The best way to ensure that you follow state and federal law and protect your rights is with the help of a family law attorney in Roseville. Retaining an attorney can help make the divorce process go smoother, especially if your case involves child custody or numerous combined assets.