Getting Divorced as a Member of the U.S. Military

If you are a member of the U.S. military, or are the spouse of one and are seeking a divorce, there is a lot you need to know about the weeks and months to come. Please read on and reach out to our firm to learn more about how we can help you through the divorce process going forward:

How do I get a divorce as a member of the military?

The first step of getting a divorce, as with civilian divorces, is establishing a residency requirement. Since members of the military are very often moving from place to place, the judicial system has adjusted the residency requirements accordingly. Military members, or their spouses, may file for divorce either in the state where the military member is stationed, in the state where the couple has legal residency, or in the state where the military member claims legal residency.

Serving divorce papers to a U.S. servicemember

Those seeking to serve their spouse divorce papers must do so with the designated official who acts as a law enforcement officer at their spouse’s military base. However, if the serving spouse does not accept the serve, he or she may request a “stay” on the divorce, which postpones the matter until he or she returns. Though the divorce may not be indefinitely halted, it can certainly prolong the process.

Are members of the military protected against default judgment?

In a civilian divorce, if one spouse does not show up to the proceedings or respond to the Complaint for Divorce, it will most likely end in a default judgment. This is where the courts issue a binding verdict, generally in the favor of the spouse who filed the Complaint. However, since military members are very often unable to attend divorce proceedings due to their being out of the country, the courts cannot enact a default judgment without their physical presence, or without the presence of legal representation acting on their behalf.

Can my spouse get my military pension if we divorce?

New Jersey law states that military pensions can be treated as marital property, and will be equitably distributed as such in a divorce. The “10/10 rule” makes it very clear that those married for 10 years or more while one spouse was serving for at least 10 years will be entitled to a portion of their spouse’s military pay.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC is a family and divorce law firm serving Monmouth County and all of New Jersey that would be happy to assist you in legal counsel. We understand how serious and potentially impactful divorce and family issues can be, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing our clients with compassionate and knowledgeable legal advice and action. If you need quality legal services, please do not hesitate to contact the firm for a consultation.