Military Divorce

Military service members and their families have unique needs that require special expertise when it comes to family law and divorce matters in California.  In fact, military JAG attorneys frequently refer their clients to civilian family law and divorce attorneys like us who have experience working with active duty personnel or their spouses.

Military divorces require consideration of jurisdictional requirements, particularly when a service member is stationed in a foreign state as compared to his/her home of record or when deployed overseas. There are a number of statutory protections to ensure that military personnel are not taken advantage of by virtue of the fact that they are on assignment serving their country.

Military family law cases include paternity disputes and conflicts about child custody and visitation that can be more difficult and complex than traditional civil cases when one or both parents temporarily reside out of state or in different states from each other.  Child and spousal support disputes require careful analysis of the service member’s LES pay stub to determine what is, and what is not, considered “income” for support purposes. And while military pension/retirement benefits may be divided under California’s community property rules, the framework for how the division is actually carried out varies with the length of the marriage itself.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was signed into law in 2003, and replaced the former Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act originally passed in 1940 (and amended for the last time in 1991).   This federal law applies to all family law courts in the United States, and provides protections for military servicemembers against default judgments.  In some instances, the SCRA can result in the appointment of an attorney to protect the servicemember’s interests and a 90-day (or longer) stay of the proceedings until the servicemember is able to appear and present a defense to the action.

Attorney Gary D. Sparks comes from a military family himself and was a military dependent (and child of a military divorce), and served as a cadet major in the Air Force Jr. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.  Gary appreciates and understands the sacrifices and commitments made by our military personnel and their families, and has committed himself to helping those personnel and their families assert their rights and protect their interests, whether they reside locally or across the globe.  Through the use of today’s technology, we represent clients across the country and as far away as Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia.  By assertively applying the provisions of the SCRA and California Family Code, we can ensure that a military servicemember is protected to the fullest extent of the law and is not unduly prejudiced by answering the call of service to the nation.

Our Walnut Creek office is located approximately 20 minutes east of Coast Guard Island, Alameda, and our Fairfield office is located approximately 15 minutes southwest of Travis Air Force Base. We are easily accessible from most locations around the San Francisco Bay Area.  Additionally, we are happy to meet with our military servicemembers stationed remotely using Skype or FaceTime rather than just via email or telephone call.

Contact us or call (925) 465-2500 or (707) 398-6008 for more information or to schedule an initial consultation at Sparks Family Law, Inc. with attorney Gary D. Sparks.