Residence And Jurisdiction

Can Your Military Divorce Be Filed In California?

Whether you're considering filing a petition for divorce or need to respond to one, you must first obtain basic information about jurisdiction, or the authority of a particular court to hear and rule on a matter. In other words, where should the divorce be filed? This can be a complicated issue if the military spouse is stationed outside of California, whether at a stateside base or on an overseas deployment.

Sacramento military divorce lawyer Hugh O. Allen served for more than 25 years on active duty and active reserve duty with the U.S. Navy. Since he established his law practice decades ago, he has advised dozens of active and retired military personnel about the legal, financial, practical and jurisdictional aspects of divorce in California. Contact the office of Hugh O. Allen Attorney at Law in Rancho Cordova to find out whether your divorce case can be filed in a California county.

Sacramento Military Divorce Attorney: Call 866-720-3666 Or 916-229-6847

The basic rule is that either spouse must have established California residence for at least six months for a court of our state to have jurisdiction over the divorce case. To file the divorce in a particular county (venue), the petitioner must have established residence in that county for at least the preceding 90 days.

Given the high mobility of military personnel and their families, determining proper jurisdiction and venue for a military divorce can be complicated. What's the service member's state of legal residence on record with the Defense Department? Where do the spouses pay state taxes? Where did the spouses marry? Do the spouses own real estate? Which state issued the spouses' driver licenses? None of these questions will definitively establish the state of residence and jurisdiction for divorce purposes, but all of them (and many more besides) can provide evidence on the question of proper state jurisdiction over a military divorce case.

Does The Court Have Jurisdiction Over Both Spouses In A Military Divorce?

Once the petitioner achieves proper jurisdiction and venue in a particular California court, the court must also find jurisdiction over both spouses. Personal jurisdiction over active-duty military personnel can be prevented or interrupted under the federal Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects people on active military service from the additional stresses of civil litigation, including many family law proceedings.

A family law attorney who understands military divorce laws and procedures can advise military and nonmilitary spouses about the jurisdictional considerations involved with filing or responding to a divorce petition, the effect of the SCRA on pending or contemplated divorce actions and the possibility of partial jurisdiction under the facts of a given case, as, for example, when a court can rule on child custody matters but not on property division issues.

Find out more about the best ways to approach issues of residence and jurisdiction in military divorce. Contact Hugh O. Allen Attorney at Law in Rancho Cordova for additional information.

This does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.