Understanding Military Divorce in New Jersey

Maintaining a stable marriage under the stress of a military career, with constant deployments and reassignments to new posts around the country and globe, can be challenging for both the servicemember and their spouse. Moreover, divorce is complex whether you’re a civilian or a member of the armed forces, so you must have a lawyer you trust on your side during the process.

If you are currently based in New Jersey and wish to file a military divorce, work with the experienced family law attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. to navigate these unique considerations.

Military Divorce in New Jersey: Unique Legal Matters

In most cases, you must file for divorce in the state in which you reside. However, because military members move frequently and don’t always change their state of residence, this can prove challenging. If you have only recently moved to New Jersey and still maintain your residence in a state across the country, it could get costly to travel back and forth for court appearances and mediations.

New Jersey allows service members to file in the state if they are stationed here, even if their residence is elsewhere. While this makes the process of filing easier, it also means that any future alterations to your divorce decree, including child support, custody times, or alimony, must also all go through the New Jersey courts.

If you and your spouse decide to divorce, you can choose which state is best to file in after consultation with your military divorce lawyer.

If you receive short-notice deployment orders, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects you, allowing you to delay court proceedings until you return, with the exception of child issues.

Child Support and Military Divorce

While there are often issues receiving child support from an ex-spouse, the military imposes sanctions on its members who fail to pay court-ordered support. If your ex-spouse doesn’t pay child support on time or in full, you can contact their commanding officer.

However, the military doesn’t facilitate the paying of child support. You can work with your attorney to set up an Income Deduction Order, which will automatically deduct the correct amount from your ex-spouse’s paycheck.

Dividing Military Income in New Jersey

Determining a military member’s assets includes owned property and income and certain benefits, like pensions, medical and life insurance, and other services. Because of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), people who were married to a servicemember for at least ten years have a right to a portion of these benefits.

Even if your marriage lasted fewer than ten years, you could still include a portion of the servicemember’s pension in your divorce settlement.

Other Considerations

Families in the military may be at risk of experiencing domestic violence due to isolation from their friends and family and untreated mental health issues caused by active duty. If you have experienced violence at the hands of your partner, you should contact a lawyer or domestic violence shelter as soon as possible. If convicted, the service member could face serious repercussions.

Learn How to File For Divorce in the Military

If you are a military member in New Jersey and are considering divorce, it’s essential that you retain a lawyer experienced in military divorce law. At Lyons & Associates, P.C., we have worked with people involved in all military branches and are familiar with military divorce complications.

Contact us online or call us at (908) 575-9777 to schedule your free consultation and learn how we can support you throughout your divorce.