Filing for a military divorce is not the same as filing for a civilian divorce. For military divorces, there are several unique issues that can make your case more complex. That is why it is imperative you enlist the assistance of a NJ divorce attorney that understands military divorce rules.
When filing for divorce in New Jersey, the grounds for divorce are the same regardless if you or your spouse is a member of the military.
Federal Laws Protect Military Service Members
There are federal laws that were specifically designed to protect military service members. These laws prevent a military member from being divorced without their knowing. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS Section 521, the divorce can be postponed the entire duration of the active service member’s assignment and for 60 additional days after they come home. The service member can waive that right if he or she wants to proceed, even if he or she is on assignment.
Residency Requirements for Military Divorce in NJ
New Jersey allows a military member or the spouse to file for divorce where they are stationed – and they do not have to be residents of New Jersey. Instead, the spouse has three options for selecting which state to file their divorce in:
1. The state where the filing spouse resides.
2. The state where the service member is currently stationed.
3. The state where the service member is a legal resident, which is the state he or she plans to move back to after his or her discharge.
Gaining New Jersey Jurisdiction
If you want to serve your spouse with divorce papers and have your case heard in a New Jersey court, you will need to file your divorce petition in New Jersey – that gives the court jurisdiction over the case.
Understanding the Division of Assets, Child Support and More
Child support, division of the assets, and even spousal support are different because a military service member’s pay is often difference. Service member’s pay consists of:
* Basic pay
* Basic housing allowance
* Basic allowance for subsistence
* Cost of living allowance
All of these are calculated via the service member’s Leave and Earnings Statement, which the court will then use to determine the acceptable amount of child support that can be awarded. New Jersey courts have a broad definition for “gross income” which means that every dollar on the LES could be considered for child support and alimony, regardless if it is reported to the IRS or if it is considered a non-taxable payment.
Also, child support laws will be mixed between military laws and the laws of the state of New Jersey. Because each branch of the military has its own laws regarding child support payments and how they will treat that service member if they fail to pay their obligated child support payments, it is best you speak with a divorce attorney in New Jersey.
Divorcing a Service Member in New Jersey? Call Romanowski Law Offices Today
We understand how complex military divorces can be and we are here to help you understand your rights. Call us for a free consultation at 732-603-8585 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.