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Getting a Divorce in the Military

San Diego is in close proximity to several military bases, including Point Loma and Camp Pendleton, meaning many San Diego residents have connections to the military or are active service members. Maintaining a family while serving your country can be a very difficult situation to balance, and unfortunately some cannot live up to the task, resulting in a couple wishing to divorce.

Much like their civilian counterparts, the process for a military divorce involves determining things such as child custody, asset division, spousal support, child support and more, however the military also has their own protocol that must be followed. Let’s examine a few of the differences.

Serving Notice to an Active Military Spouse

Serving your spouse notice of a divorce is slightly different. Because military family members move around so much, you must personally serve them a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for California to have the jurisdiction. In uncontested cases, you may not have to serve your spouse, so long as they file a waiver acknowledging they are aware of the divorce process or have counsel either retained or appointed by the court.


As stated, military families move around a lot and are often transferred to different stations. In order to be eligible in California, you and your spouse must reside there, or you must currently be stationed there.

Property Division

Dividing property during a divorce is slightly different due to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. This is essentially a legally-mandated way of calculating the division of military retirement benefits during a divorce, usually requiring a direct payment of retiree pay to their former spouse.

Child Support

California military divorces forbid any awards for child support and spousal support to be more than 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The amounts are determined using the usual schedules and worksheets, but also keep in mind this strict limit.

If you or your spouse are actively serving in our military at either Point Loma or Camp Pendleton and need assistance with a divorce case, speak with a skilled San Diego divorce attorney from Fair Cadora, APC. Trust your case to a legal representative that has been Board Certified in Family Law by the California State Board of Legal Specialization.

Please call the firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

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