Military life is part of the fabric of New Jersey. Families who have military members know that military life brings with it unique challenges, including constant moves, the possibility of deployment, random shifts, and overall uncertainty. Those military members and their families sacrifice a lot of personal comforts for our national security. Oftentimes, the stress of military life can add additional pressures to marriages. If a military family makes the decision to divorce, there are unique legal challenges ahead of them. One of those legal challenges is where to actually file for divorce. Unlike their civilian counterparts, military families must make a choice between several locations regarding where they will actually file for divorce.
Why Venue Matters
The place a person makes a decision to file for divorce in is called the venue. Different venues have different rules and regulations, and military divorces are affected by both state and federal laws. The state in which you file for a military divorce will impact many parts of the divorce process and could directly affect child support, child custody, alimony, and other matters due to the fact that divorce laws vary by state. Additionally, venue matters for the following reasons in a military divorce:
- Military Pension: A military members pension is oftentimes one of the largest marital assets. The Uniformed Services Form Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) states that the venue in which the military member obtains a divorce must be the one where the military member resides in order for the state to have the legal authority to divide the military pension. Therefore, if you decide to file for divorce in a state that is not the legal residency of a military member, that state may not have the legal authority to actually divide the pension.
- Child Support, Child Custody Arrangements, and Spousal Support: Every state has its own sets of laws regarding child custody arrangements and the calculations for child support. Where you file for divorce will greatly impact these outcomes. Contact our Child Support lawyer in New Jersey.
Military spouses have a few choices when it comes to where they may legally file for divorce:
- The most recent or current state where the military service member is stationed.
- The state in which the military service member maintains legal residency.
- The state where the non-service military spouse currently resides.
Additionally, it is important to note that under the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), any member of the military may legally halt any civil actions, including divorces, temporarily while they are on active duty or within 90 days of release from active duty.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
If you are a member of the military, or a military spouse, and are considering obtaining a divorce, there are several additional legal factors to consider. Make sure that your legal rights are protected and contact an experienced New Jersey Alimony Attorney at the law firm of Giro Law at 201-690-1642 to help you understand how to protect your legal rights with the unique aspects of a military divorce.