Blog Posts


July 13, 2021
Military Members and Their Heritage Actions

Military families face unique challenges when it comes to custody, support, and benefits. Unlike most families, military families often have one parent deployed to another corner of the globe for extended periods. That can make shared custody and availability for court dates difficult. To make these situations work well for all parties, especially the children, it’s important to understand California family law as it applies to military families.


If you lived in California when you divorced or separated, the state might still have jurisdiction over your family law case. That means you might have to appear in a California court, not in a court in your new city. Fortunately, there are many ways to appear via teleconferencing and video chat that doesn’t involve physically traveling to the courtroom.


If you are getting divorced or separated, it’s essential to get your custody orders in place before you deploy. This is especially important if you have children who may not recognize you when you return after six months or more overseas. In such cases, without custody orders in place, the court may deny you custody since the child hasn’t established any bond with you.

Ensure that your custody order states clearly when you will be in town and when you will deploy elsewhere.

Income Available For Support

Whether it’s in California or at a military post overseas, the income you earn will likely be factored into the equation when the court decides whether and how much support you are required to pay your spouse.

Domestic Violence

If domestic violence charges are in your divorce or separation filings, keep in mind that command orders and civil orders are two different things. The military police handle a command (or base) order, whereas the local municipal police deal with civil order.


Your military benefits will also come into consideration during your divorce or separation proceedings. Your pension, health insurance, life insurance, and educational benefits may all become part of your joint assets. If you’ve been married long enough, your spouse is entitled to free or discounted health insurance under California law.

Getting a divorce when you’re in the military presents unique challenges. Hartley Lamas Attorneys at Law specializes in helping military families like yours. To learn how we can help you, call us at 805-639-0600 to schedule an appointment today.

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