Southern California Family Attorney
Back to Top
A guide to divorce for military personnel

A guide to divorce for military personnel (because there’s no DD214 for a marriage)

Divorce for military families is quite a different experience in comparison to what happens with civilian families, and that is something that most people in the military about to participate in a divorce often discover much too late.

For a start, it’s going to make a very big difference if your job is directly related to combat or combat support, particularly if you are currently deployed in a war zone or if you were recently deployed. For those on deployment, you may have to undergo a Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) assessment. When you apply for leave due to a family emergency of any kind, including divorce, the COSC assessment is normally a mandatory requirement before leave will be granted.

The exception might be personnel who are stationed far from a combat area and who do not participate directly in combat or combat-related duties. Even then, some types of work such as medical personnel who regularly provide medical treatment to grievously wounded combatants, or air traffic controllers who communicate with combat aircrews, possibly would not be exempted and may require COSC screening prior to being granted leave.

There’s a lot of technical stuff that is attached to the COSC process, but what it essentially all boils down to is that the military services want to be certain that you’re not crazy enough as a result of combat stress to do harm to yourself or to others. If they believe that you are at risk of experiencing a Combat Stress Reaction (CSR), you can be denied leave indefinitely.

That is just one example of the many factors military families will face when contemplating or engaging in divorce. Things like this can create complications which civilians families don’t have to deal with.

California has a large population of military families, particularly in the areas of San Diego, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. Finding a divorce lawyer, of course, should be a top priority. This is certainly not a task you’ll want to trust just any lawyer with. They need to have a demonstrable track record in resolving military divorces.

Local law firm Fischer & Van Thiel is one of the most highly recommended, due to their extensive experience in the field of military divorce. They have helped many families work through the complexity of the military divorce process.

Unlike a civilian divorce, a military divorce requires more careful planning, especially if the timing is going to be a critical factor. For example, if you are on mid-tour leave or if you are between active deployments, you will most likely have a limited amount of time available for dealing with your divorce matters.

This is why it’s always best to work with attorneys who really understand the needs of those who are serving in the military, and who can provide you with the best experience and advice based on their knowledge of military, state and federal law. That’s the kind of assurance you need.