In San Diego, the United States armed forces are an integral element to the fabric of our community. Along with the rest of our community, service members may need the skills of San Diego family attorneys if they are dealing with divorce, custody and visitation, or domestic violence. However, there are often special considerations that apply to these men and women and their families.
Ability to Participate in the Case
Like a Navy recruitment advertisement says: Join the Navy and See the World. This can pose problems for those on deployment outside of San Diego, but who also have a family law case pending back home. From the outset of a family law case (and certain other types of case), Federal law protects military members from actions taken in their case while they are deployed or otherwise cannot participate in the case due to their duties. This is a Federal law known as the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act. For example, if a military member on deployment has been notified they have an upcoming hearing on child support, they may request that the hearing be delayed for 90 days or until they can appear either in person or by phone.
Active Duty and Custody / Visitation
The demands of active duty and deployment can make co-parenting very difficult. Military members may often want custody and visitation orders that cover a current situation where both parents live in San Diego, what happens when the member is deployed, and then what to do when the member returns to San Diego.
Servicemembers also often have to deal with move-away cases when one or both parents’ orders require them to move cities. Move-away cases are some of the most difficult cases for judges to decide, and their incidence in military family law cases is relatively common.
Military family law cases often involve military-specific assets, such as the military pension, VA disability, Survivor Benefit Program (SBP), and TSP accounts. There are Federal and State laws that affect how these assets are treated in their division.
Additionally, Tricare and related healthcare programs have special eligibility rules and benefits rules for former spouses that should be considered when proceeding through a military family law case.
These are just some of the issues that touch military families while they are dealing with family law legal issues. Attorney Scott & Matteson Family Law, CFLS, has been litigating San Diego family law cases that include military families since 1981. Mr. Scott is a Certified Family Law Specialist with more than 35 years of experience. Please contact the Law Office of Scott & Matteson Family Law at 858-974-4900 to set up a consultation appointment with Mr. Scott.