There are several unique issues involved when a military member is involved in a divorce proceeding.
One of the main issues in a military divorce is that of the member’s retirement. The issue revolves around the member’s domicile for the jurisdiction of a California court to divide the member’s retirement.
Often, it is believed that you must be married for more than ten years in order for the court to divide a member’s retirement. This is entirely untrue.
The “ten year rule” only relates to whether or not DFAS (Defense Financing and Accounting Service) will pay the non-member former spouse’s share of the retirement directly. If the marriage is less than ten years, the retirement is still subject to division; only the member is required to pay the former spouse directly.
Another unique facet of the military divorce is whether or not the member is domiciled in this state and if California has jurisdiction, under Federal law, to divide the member’s retirement without the member’s consent.
There are many factors that the court considers in determining this issue and an experienced Family Law Attorney, familiar with military issues is recommended. The determining factor is not which state the member has selected for his or her home of record. Home of Record is only a military administrative term that refers to where the member and his or her household possessions will be transported upon separation from the service. This does not determine domicile.
As to the spouse of a military member, there are benefits available based on the length of the marriage during which time the military member was active duty. As a spouse you may be entitled to extended health care and commissary benefits depending on the length of time the marriage overlaps the creditable service.