While there are different considerations related to a military divorce, the overall principles remain the same. However, the factors that affect military life could determine how a court applies those principles. Military divorces present many complexities that can impact both child custody and finances. You should hire an attorney to provide you with the most effective legal representation, regardless of whether you are an active duty service member or a military spouse.
Jurisdictional Issues and Protections for Deployed Service Members
There is a jurisdictional issue about where the divorce may be filed. The family may have just moved to New Jersey, or they are nearing a move to another location. The divorce case could be filed in three possible locations:
- The state where the service member is stationed.
- The state where the service member has their legal residence.
- The state where the spouse has their legal residence.
The divorce could be filed in New Jersey because it falls into one of these three categories.
Then, some rules prevent a service member from having to face a divorce when they are deployed overseas. This protection period lasts during their deployment and for up to two months afterward.
Military Life Can Be Different, but the Legal Standard for Custody Issues Is the Same
Child custody issues can also be complex. A service member moves around frequently. If the other parent gains physical custody of the children, it can be difficult for the service member to see them with any sort of frequency. The parents may need to be creative in finding a solution for the custody agreement. One parent’s service could impact who gets custody of the children overall. Nothing says that an active duty service member cannot be awarded physical custody of the children. Then, the parenting plan would also need to consider contingencies, such as when one parent gets deployed overseas.
New Jersey courts will still apply the best interests of the child test in ruling on any custody manner. There are many factors that the judge would consider, and the realities of military life would make the court’s decision even more challenging to reach. The judge would consider the specifics of each case. Not every military family faces the same situation.
Financial Considerations in a Military Divorce
Child support and other financial issues can also be more complicated in a military divorce. Here are some considerations due to the unique aspects of military life:
- The service member may have earned a pension already, or they are on their way to qualifying for one. The pension is usually divided between the spouses based on the number of years that the couple was together, even though there is no set formula.
- The spouse may not be able to support themselves because they may not have previously been able to work because of the frequent relocations involved in military life.
- There are things other than just income that could factor into the child support calculation, such as the housing allowance.
- A spouse may be entitled to health benefits if the marriage lasted for more than 20 years and the service member was in uniform for 20 or more of those years.
There are many more issues that you must address and think about in a military divorce. Your attorney should have specific experience handling military divorces so they can provide you with the most effective legal representation.
Metuchen Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC Help Military Families
If you are involved in a military divorce, contact our Metuchen divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC. We can handle the details of your divorce, pointing out unique issues that could affect your case. Call us at 732-494-6099 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County.