In California, a divorce is called a dissolution of marriage. One of the most important things that a servicemember needs to know is where they can file their divorce. Military members are unique because different jurisdiction may be able to hear their case. However, there are requirements that may need to be met before a state may exercise their jurisdiction.
If you are stationed in California and are unsure where to file your divorce, you may want to speak with a qualified family law attorney; however, the following explains the different jurisdiction in which you may be able to file.
1) A service member may file for divorce in their state of domicile.
Once a service member joins the military, due to their involuntary mobility, Federal law allows the service member to retain his or her state of domicile. Under Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a service member’s state of domicile is the state where the service member was a legal resident upon entering their military service. This state may be their state of domicile as long as they are in the service. Thus, a service member may file for a divorce in the state they lived when they joined the service. Before you file in your state of domicile, ensure that you consult with an experienced family law attorney.
2) A service member may file for dissolution of marriage in California.
In California, even if you have a different state of domicile that is not California, you may file for divorce if you meet the residency requirements laid out in California Family Law Code §2320. Under this section, you may file for Dissolution of Marriage if you have been a resident of the state of California for six (6) months and the county in which you are filing for three (3) months. If you have reached the statutory requirements, you may file for dissolution in California. If you have not been resident for six months or you have reached the statutory guidelines, you may want to contact an experienced family law attorney for guidance.
3) A service member may file for divorce where their partner is a legal resident.
If you are stationed in California, and your spouse did not move with you to your current duty station, you may be able to file in the state in which your spouse lives. Before filing your divorce, speak with a family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
There are a number of issues that complicate military divorces, which may include child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support. As a service member, who may be preparing for deployment or an overseas duty station, you may want to discuss all options with an experienced family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected. If you would like further guidance, you may contact the Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC, who understand the difficulties of active duty military service. For a free 30-minute consultation with an experienced family law attorney, please call 800-769-4748 or text (858)880-6689.