Are Military Divorces Different Than Civilian Ones?

If you are a military member or the spouse of one, and you are currently seeking a divorce, there are several things you should know about the months, or years to come. Though the process can be extremely stressful, with a bit of self-education and the help of an experienced attorney, you help ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What are the residency requirements for military divorce?

For the divorce process to begin, you will have to fulfill the residency requirement. Since military members are seldom stationed in one place for long, the law has accommodated the nature of their job. This means that residency requirements for military divorces in New Jersey differ from standard divorces. For a military member, or the spouse of one to file a divorce, they will have to do so either:

  • In the state where the member of the U.S. military is stationed
  • In the state where the member of the U.S. military claims legal residence
  • In the state where the couple has legal residence

How do I serve divorce papers to a member of the U.S. military?

To serve divorce papers to a U.S. military member, you will generally have to speak with the designated official at your spouse’s base who acts as a law enforcement officer. However, you should know that simply serving these papers does not automatically begin the divorce process. If your spouse is currently serving and is not on base, he or she may reject the serve, thereby putting a “stay” on the divorce until he or she returns from duty.

What does the term “default judgment” mean?

When a spouse files a Complaint for Divorce, the other spouse is responsible for responding and attending the divorce proceedings. If a spouse fails to respond or attent, courts will very often issue a default judgment, which settles the divorce in favor of the filing spouse. However, very often, a military member’s duty will prevent him or her from attending the proceedings at the current time. Therefore, no judgment on a divorce can be made unless the military member is present, or has employed legal counsel to act on his or her behalf.

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about moving out of your marital home during your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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