New Jersey Family Law Firm: Military Divorces – What Makes Them Different?

New Jersey Family Law Firm discuss the unique circumstances surrounding military divorces. Written By: Theresa A. Lyons

Military families have special challenges and situations that are unique to them.  And when those families break up, it is important that they have lawyers who understand those challenges and how they impact divorce.  These are some issues that are particular to military divorces:

  1. Custody and parenting time during deployment or far away assignments.    Technically, under New Jersey law, a trial court is not supposed to “consider the absence or potential absence of a military service member by reason of deployment or service-related treatment as a factor in determining the best interest of a child for whom the service member is a parent or caretaker.”  N.J.S.A. 9:2-12.1b.  As a practical matter, however, judges and parents also are expected to consider things like the stability of a parent’s home, the continuity of a child’s schooling, and other factors that could be impacted by a long deployment.  Honestly, there may not always be a perfectly right answer on your child’s best interests, but it is important that your counsel at least know what questions to ask when trying to seek that answer.
  2. Retirement benefits.  Military personnel have different types of retirement benefits than non-military people.   Depending upon a number of factors, those benefits may or may not be subject to division once you get divorce.  If they are subject to division, then your lawyer is going to have to make sure that the legal documents match not just the requirements of the local family law judge, but also the legal requirements of the United States military.
  3. Income for purposes of Alimony and Child Support.  Sometimes military personnel receive extra types of income that non-military people don’t get.  A few examples are things like combat pay, housing allowances, and family separation allowances.  Should those items be included when calculating alimony and child support?  And if so, to what degree and for how long?  A good divorce lawyer will help walk you through the analysis.

If you or someone you know is a military family that may be going through a divorce, then contact one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form