If you are in the U.S. military, you know frequent moves are part of the job. Because of this, you may not have met the residency requirements to file for divorce, which is one year in NJ. Our New Jersey military divorce lawyer can help you through the process.
A common question we are asked regarding divorce is how a military couple can seek a dissolution of marriage if one or both are stationed in New Jersey or if one spouse is enlisted in the military while the other is not. Issues include things like the couple not being permanent residents of the state and meeting the unique rules for military couples getting divorced.
The rules and requirements for a military couple divorcing in New Jersey differ from those for civilians. Our legal team understands the unique rules and requirements for a military divorce in New Jersey and can help with the often complicated and confusing legal process.
Where to File a New Jersey Military Divorce
The person who files for divorce may have options regarding where they will file. It depends on where each person in the marriage claims legal residence and the divorce laws of that state.
In New Jersey, servicemembers can file for divorce in the state where they are currently stationed, where their spouse lives, and where the servicemember claims residency.
When scheduling hearings, the courts typically understand if a servicemember cannot attend because they are overseas on active duty. In these situations, the court often allows the servicemember to participate in the hearing via telephone or video conferencing. If a servicemember cannot participate in the court hearings at all, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows the court to stay the case until the service member can participate. While waiting for the servicemember’s availability, their spouse may receive temporary support.
Child Support and Custody Issues
If there is no agreement regarding child support in place, different rules will apply based on the military branch the servicemember is part of. To have a servicemember’s wages garnished, this must be applied for via a court order. The Leave and Earnings Statement of the servicemember will be evaluated by the attorney representing their spouse to determine the amount of support to be paid. It is also necessary for the attorney to consider what is needed to pay for essentials like housing, clothing, and food.
Another issue related to this part of a divorce proceeding is visitation and custody. In New Jersey, the court has limited power regarding visitation rights and permanent custody for the non-custodial parent until a period of 90 days has passed from the end of the servicemember’s deployment. It is not possible for visitation or custody changes to be made because of the parent’s deployment alone. It is possible to modify parenting time on a service member’s ability to spend time with a child because of their obligations to the military. Also, servicemembers can designate someone they choose who has a relationship with the child and another parent to stand in for them during their legally permitted parenting time.
The Impact of Benefits and Pensions in a Military Divorce
The pension accumulated by servicemembers during their marriage is viewed as a marital asset. This is determined by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. While this is true, the pension is not the same as it would be in civilian court, and the pension and assets were divided between civilian couple filing for divorce. A court order can be used to determine the Survivor Benefit Plan if there is a change in beneficiaries.
A common issue for New Jersey military divorce cases is health care benefits. If a divorce is filed involving a servicemember who has been in the military for 20 years or more and the marriage lasted 20 years concurrent to the person being in the military, the spouse may be able to receive coverage from TRICARE. This is only possible if the spouse does not receive health insurance coverage through their employer and is not remarried.
If the couple was not married for 20 years overlapping with the person’s military service, then the terms will be different. The spouse will receive one year of health care service for couples married for 20 years and has 15 years of military service. After that point, spouses who do not meet the specified requirements to continue receiving coverage can receive some benefits based on the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
Why You Need to Hire A Neptune Military Divorce Lawyer
Many laws and requirements must be met if you are filing for a military divorce. Unlike civilian divorces, the military imposes laws on servicemembers and their spouses when filing for divorce. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to issues.
At Sangiovanni Marchetti Law, our legal professionals understand the divorce process for both civilians and servicemembers. Our New Jersey military divorce lawyer can help you understand the complex issues of your case and ensure your rights are protected. We encourage you to contact our legal team to discuss your needs and ensure you get the representation you deserve.