Military Divorce FAQs

Military Divorce FAQs: Find out about divorcing a military servicemember or divorcing a civilian when you are in the military. Get the answers to the most frequently asked questions about military divorce in New Jersey.

How do I get a divorce if my spouse is in the military?

When filing for divorce from a military spouse, it is important to know that special rules apply to military service members, especially those on active duty. You may file your military divorce in the state where you reside, the state where the service member is currently stationed or perhaps even the service member’s home state as listed on their Leave and Earnings Statement. Courts are sympathetic to military personnel. Even when service is successful, if deployment prevents the service member from fully participating in a court proceeding, the Service Members Civil Relief Act allows a court to delay (or “stay”) the proceedings until he or she is available. Military divorces can be complicated. Be sure to consult with an attorney experienced in these types of matters.

I’m currently deployed. Can a court grant my spouse a divorce without my knowledge?

NO. Because of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, default judgments of any kind cannot be entered against servicemen and women while they are away, unless they are fully informed of the proceedings and they agree to waive their protections under the SCRA. Servicemembers are entitled to the court appointing an attorney for them in thier absence and they are entitled to a 90 day stay of the proceedings while they are gone. See 50 U.S.C. App. Sec. 501 for more information.

I’m being stationed overseas in Germany and I have primary custody of my child. Can my child go with me?

This is possible. Under New Jersey law, children do not automatically stay with the parent who is remaining in the United States. Courts make decisions regarding custody based upon the child’s best interests. The court will look at the conditions your child will face in the new country such as safety, educational opportunities, and child care availability and will strive to make sure the child’s other parent remains a constant presence in their life during the time away.

military custody and parenting time

I’ve returned from active duty, but am in an inpatient medical facility. Can the court make changes to my parenting time plan right away?

No. New Jersey law prohibits any permanent custody or parenting time changes to existing orders for at least 90 days after the parent’s return. Also, changes cannot be made while a parent is absent for 30 days due to deployment or treatment for service related injuries.

My commanding officer is telling me I need a Military Family Care Plan. What is that?

The US military will not allow single parents to enlist. However, some parents become single parents during their time in the service and others marry other military parents. In these cases, the various branches of the military require members to create a Military Family Care Plan that outlines items such as designations of short and long term care providers in the case of a deployment. Please note that these plans cannot conflict with court orders that are already in place that talk about custody or child support.

Can I name someone other than my child’s other parent as a caregiver in my Military Family Care Plan?

You can, but you must include the written consent of your child’s other parent or a written statement about why the consent was not provided.

The Answers You Need

For answers to your specific questions about military divorce, including jurisdiction, residency, special rules for deployed servicemembers, and more, please get in touch to request an consultation. Our skilled and knowledgable attorneys can help you safeguard your children, protect your assets, and secure your future. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation. Take the first step today. Talk to us:

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