Harvard Law School
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Yale University
Mediator, Judge Pro-Tem
Certified Family Law Specialist
licensed by the State Bar of California
Stan is a member of the
San Diego North County Bar Association .
Licensed to practice in California, Maryland, Washington D.C., & Georgia
Military divorces are different, right from the beginning. If we're talking about a service member who's on deployment, we have to know where he or she is in order to serve the member with the petition for dissolution of marriage. In some situations, there is no way to find out, because the nature of the member's current deployment may mean that the member's whereabouts is classified information. We also have to determine if our court will have personal jurisdiction over the member, even if we can serve the member properly.
Many service members maintain their legal residence in the state they lived in before they joined the service. Let's say we are talking about a female whose legal residence is in Alabama. We also know her current address, but she's not in California and she's never lived in California. Even if we can serve her, she may decide not to file a response. If she doesn't file a response, as a general rule the court doesn't have personal jurisdiction over her. We can still ask the court to enter her default, and the court can deal with custody of minor children in most circumstances, but otherwise as a general rule the court can't do anything else but dissolve the parties' marriage. For example, the court can't deal with the division of community property . If there is any of consequence, that's a problem.
Another problem is delay. Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act , a service member on active duty can obtain a postponement (called a stay) of court proceedings if the member's duties do not permit leave time to go to court. The procedure the member must follow to obtain a stay is complicated, but with persistence it can be accomplished.
Another problem is establishing the member's income for purposes of spousal and child support . A service member's pay stub is a Leave and Earnings Statement. It's nothing like a civilian's pay stub, and a lawyer unfamiliar with one will have a very difficult time understanding it. Dividing military retirement benefits is also considerably different than dividing civilian retirement benefits. This list of differences between military divorces and civilian divorces goes on and on. If you or your spouse is a service member, and you need a divorce , find a family law attorney that is experienced in military divorces. We have that experience.
We serve the following San Diego County and Southern California Desert Areas: San Diego, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas, La Jolla, La Mesa, Escondido, Vista, Oceanside, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Marine Corps Base - Camp Pendleton, Poway, Ramona, Julian, Alpine, Temecula, Borrego Springs, Palm Springs, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta, Coachella, Cathedral City.