Long Beach Military Divorce Attorneys
The Unique Legal Issues of a Military Divorce
Any divorce can be very difficult, stressful and confusing. When either or both spouses are military, complications can increase dramatically due to potential legal problems associated with a military divorce.
It is extremely important that you seek the assistance of a Long Beach military divorce lawyer who specializes in military divorce, has thorough knowledge of military issues, and has focused on military divorce cases for years.
Although certain aspects of military divorce are almost similar to those of civil divorce, there are also a variety of special factors that need to be considered in the sense of military service. These include many of the following:
- The assessment of pension benefits for the non-military spouse;
- determining the proper place to submit divorce papers;
- determining whether or not post-divorce benefits are applicable;
- determining the tax consequences of divorce settlements;
- the calculation of child and spousal support;
- decoding the military spouse’s leave and earnings statement (LEP); and
- Assigning an appropriate value to the military spouse’s savings plan (his or her savings in the pension and investment plan) ;
Serving the divorce Documents to an Active Military Spouse
State law, as well as federal law, shall apply to your military divorce in California. It is important to know that there are laws that prevent military spouses from being sued for failing to comply with an unwanted divorce. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS Section 521, divorce proceedings may be suspended for up to 60 days after the active military service of the military spouse. If the military spouse can make use of this law, the military spouse shall retain the right to waive the law and to continue the divorce.
The non-military partner has the divorce papers and the divorce judgment handed over to the person on active military service. For the California court to remain professional, the service must be conducted in person. Unless the military spouse is asked to sign and submit an affidavit in appreciation of the divorce proceedings, service is not necessary. The legal conditions for military divorce in the Golden State are the same as for civil divorce; currently, most divorces are filed under “no-fault” laws, and the reason is simply “irreconcilable differences.”
Deciding What Jurisdiction to File for divorce
It could be difficult for a military couple to determine whether to apply for a divorce. In the developed world, this is different from the case of divorce, which is solely based on the place of residence. In addition, the history of military marriage may begin with a couple who have moved and married in another state, who are likely to live in the state of California and may even own property in the fourth state.
In another hypothetical scenario, the couple may have recently moved to the state of California and may not have remained there long enough to establish their residence. As a general rule, in order to seek a military divorce in the Golden State, you or your spouse must be originally from California, or you or your spouse must be located in California.
Although military personnel are free to reside physically or be deployed in a State other than the State in which they apply for citizenship, a non-military partner may not have the same privilege.
In general, when determining the location of a warehouse, you should consider where you want to store it:
- Pay state taxes,
- Where you got a driver’s license,
- Where you had your vehicles titled,
- Owning any property, and
- Pay property taxes.
If you choose to travel to another state to file for divorce, it is essential that you consider travel costs, present the required documents, meet with your lawyers, and be prepared to attend every hearing if your divorce case ends in court. These costs could be a benefit to you that you could gain by filing in another State.
Military Pay and Benefits: A Deeper Understanding
The military partner may be eligible for special military benefits. It is necessary for both spouses to understand exactly what these benefits are.
Service members must receive an LES-Leave and Income Tax Return-which is simply a pay slip indicating their level of service, years of service, wages and deductions. Minimum compensation is different from any other perks, such as a bonus for work success or a risk compensation. Tax free benefits are classified into Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The BAS shall be a fixed sum for monthly food expenses.
The volume of the BAS depends depending on the state of the family and whether or not the member of the service has dependents.
The number of dependents in the household does not matter, but simply whether or not there are dependents. If the member, spouse and children reside in military housing, the family does not normally receive the BAH, as military housing is provided free of charge to members and their families.
There is no difference whether or not one or more minor children live with the military personnel after the divorce; whether the military personnel are responsible for the custody of the children, they will receive the BAH at the dependent rate, unless military accommodation is given, they will be subject to a marine levy, or the member will is paid above the E-3 grade. As both BAH and BAS are listed as cash assets, they must be included in the affidavit in the case of a divorce. All BAH and BAS are to be included in the gross profits for the purpose of child custody.
The Military Pension
Most non-military partners are entirely unaware of the importance of military insurance unless the insured has been in uniform for 20 years or more. In fact, a pension may be one of the most valuable assets in a long-term marriage.
For example, after 20 years of service, a captain or colonel may earn more than $6,000 a month’s pension. By general, it is more desirable for a non-military spouse to obtain an old-age pension at a set dollar sum or a predetermined percentage.
Notwithstanding the set dollar number, the standard of living does not increase. The percentage approach can be more successful if the military partner has already retired and all the specifics are known.
If the marriage lasted less than 10 years, there is no separation and the non-military partner receives a military pension. In general, military pension benefits are not recognized as divisible assets until the military partner reaches retirement age.
Military pensions, like a number of other types of pensions, expire with the death of the military spouse unless the military spouse determines what is required by the Uniform Services Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), which allows the former surviving spouse the ability to continue earning benefits.
The final divorce settlement must specify explicitly that an SBP has been selected and, if so, a formal application (statement of preference of the former spouse on the SBP Election Statement) must be sent to the Retired Pay Office of the Defendant Finance and Accounting Service within one year of the divorce.
The 20/20/20, 20/20/15 and 20/20/10 Rules
The length of the marriage as well as the duration of the military service should be taken into consideration when determining if the former member’s spouse is entitled to all military benefits (including medical treatment, pension, trade and theater privileges).
20/20/20 Rule When the marriage lasted 20 years or longer, the former spouse has served a minimum of 20 years of military service and there has been an “overlap” of at least 20 years between marriage and military service, the former spouse is entitled to full military benefits, including life-long medical benefits.
20/20/15 Rule If the marriage has lasted 20 years or more, if the former spouse has completed a total of 20 years of military service and there has been an “overlap” of at least 15 years between the marriage and military service, otherwise the former spouse of a member shall be entitled to transitional military health benefits for one year.
20/20/10 RuleUnless the marriage has lasted at least 20 years, the former spouse has served in the army for at least 20 years and there has been a “overlap” of at least 10 years, and the former spouse has been a survivor of domestic abuse reported by the individual who served in the army, the spouse will be entitled to all military benefits. In special circumstances, this form of benefit is known as a complete benefit.
Filing for divorce and Asset Division for Military Members in the State of California
The requirements for filing for a military divorce in the Golden State are somewhat close to those for any other divorce. As already stated, both a summons and a copy of the divorce petition will be sent to the military spouse.
Because California is a state where community property is the standard, it is presumed that all properties and debts accrued by a couple will be listed as community property during marriage. Any property possessed by a spouse before marriage or any property obtained after marriage by inheritance or gift is usually considered to belong only to that spouse-with a few exceptions.
Unless the property held before the marriage is named after the marriage in the name of both partners, the property shall be known as matrimonial property. When, after marriage, one spouse is added to the other spouse’s bank account, all the money in that account-whether accumulated before or after marriage-is deemed to be joint matrimonial property or collective property. In other words, if you want to keep the property you had before marriage apart from the matrimonial property, you just have to keep it apart for the duration of your marriage.
Community property laws typically divide matrimonial property by half, unlike the equal division of property laws in other States which aim to divide matrimonial property equally rather than justly. Military divorce raises issues such as the breakup of the family over a long period of time, as well as a more complex stratified division of property and obligations.
Child Support Standards for a Military divorce
In the case of minor children from military marriage, the amount of child support does not exceed 60 per cent of the income and benefits of the military spouse, in addition to any spousal support.
In addition to this clause, the benefit is calculated as in the case of civil divorce in the state of California. Child support is based on a complex formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the time each parent spends with the child or children, and the tax deductions that each parent can obtain.
How an Experienced Long Beach Military divorce Attorney Can Help
In most situations, an effort to meet the requirements for military notification is a poor idea for a non-military spouse. If your divorce application shows the military status of your spouse, you can reverse some form of default decision. Because military divorce in California could be a problem, your primary concern should be to ensure that your interests are adequately protected. Your attorney will be able to accurately determine the properties of your spouse, taking into account any medical benefits that your service partner might be entitled to. Therefore, if minor children are involved, you must ensure that there is both a fair division of property and a sound custody agreement.