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SCRA and the Military Divorce Process
Members of the U.S. military have certain protections provided for them under federal law in all court actions, including the military divorce process, custody and child support matters. These protections are set out in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), established in 2003 and amended several times since. The SCRA expands and continues the rights of military members seeking a military divorce begun in the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 (SSCRA).
The SCRA protects servicemembers from such things as excessive interest while on active duty, from default court judgments, foreclosures, seizure of property, termination of leases, and suspension of civil judicial proceedings (including military divorce and custody cases).
Determining Custody in the Military Divorce Process
In the case of a custody order, if the court takes any emergency action due to a service member’s absence, this order can be challenged by the servicemember upon notice and could be rescinded or revised or the proceeding stopped for a period of time until the party is available to appear in court.
A servicemember may also, within 90 days of leaving active duty, seek to have a judgment set aside and, in California, this could result in a new hearing and perhaps a different set of orders.
Child Support in the Military Divorce Process
As with any other type of judicial proceeding, those involving child support are also covered under the SCRA. The major challenge a servicemember faces with child support while on active duty is their base pay is supplemented by housing pay (Basic Assistance for Housing, or BAH) and by subsistence pay (Basic Allowance for Subsistence, or BAS).
This can and does greatly increase the overall pay a servicemember receives and if they are on active duty away from the children, their visitation/custody time could be very limited and this will increase child support.
Again, the SCRA protects servicemembers from default judgments and once they receive notice any such orders in the military divorce process can be changed or terminated.
The Military Divorce Process in San Diego
The San Diego County Superior Court provides information about custody and visitation proceedings on sites such as here. If you are in the military on active duty or if you are a parent who shares custody with someone who is, you should do your research to find out how to proceed.
Your family law attorney is well-versed in the military divorce process, custody and child support cases as they appear so frequently in the San Diego area.
You should consult with an attorney because this area of law, covered by federal law but affecting state court proceedings, is rather complex and acting incorrectly could cause more trouble than it’s worth.
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If you are a member of the military and seeking
JWB Family Law is proud to offer a discount for members of the U.S. military. Contact our office today to schedule your discreet consultation at our San Diego location.
The Importance of the CFLS Designation
A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriage, child and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.
Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.