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How to get Divorced as a Member of the U.S. Military

Those who are getting divorced as U.S. servicemembers, or who are divorcing a U.S. servicemember should understand, first and foremost, that the process differs in some crucial ways from the civilian divorce process. Please read on to learn more about what to expect for the next few months or years:

How do I get a divorce as a U.S. military servicemember?

The first aspect of getting a divorce as the same as a civilian divorce, in that you must fulfill a residency requirement. However, oftentimes, service members are unable to easily establish residences, constantly traveling all over the country and the world. This is why the courts have allowed service member spouses to file for divorce either in the state where the couple has legal residency, the state where the military member is stationed, or in the state where the military member claims legal residency.

Can those in the military be served divorce papers?

Most military bases have a designated, appointed individual who acts as a law enforcement officer and handles the base’s legal affairs. However, if you are seeking to serve papers to your servicemember spouse and he or she does not accept the serve, he or she can request a “stay” on the divorce. This will prolong the process, putting your divorce on hold until he or she returns from the line of duty.

Are those serving in the military subject to default judgment?

Since service members may be overseas or otherwise serving the country at the time a Complaint for Divorce is filed, thereby preventing them from attending divorce hearings, they are not subjected to default judgment, which is a binding verdict in favor of one party over the other (generally the one who shows up). Therefore, military spouses may not divorce unless either both are present or have legal representation acting on their behalf.

Will a divorce affect my military pension?

In most cases, New Jersey courts will treat military pensions as marital property, and therefore distribute it equitably with the rest of your marital assets. The “10/10” rule states that if you were married for 10 years or more, and your military spouse served for at least 10 years, you will most likely qualify for a portion of his or her military pay.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. Not only is your financial well-being at stake, but in a divorce, both you and your children’s emotional well-being are at risk as well. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.