Bergen County Military Divorce Lawyer
The circumstances of a military service member’s career lead to uncommon legal questions, especially in the divorce process. It is important to hire a law firm with military divorce attorneys who know how to handle issues that may arise when you divorce a military spouse.
The Bergen County, NJ military divorce lawyers at Arons & Solomon dedicate our practice to family law matters. Since we practice nothing else, we hone our expertise each day in all areas of divorce and family law. That includes military divorces.
Clients in Bergen County have trusted our law office to handle their divorce and family law cases since Arons & Solomon was founded in 1995. We have over 200 years of collective experience guiding clients through the divorce process, giving us a deep understanding of how family law matters unfold in the state of New Jersey. If you need a New Jersey divorce lawyer, reach out today for your free consultation.
How Our Bergen County Family Law Attorneys Can Help With Your Military Divorce
When you know that divorce is your next life move for you and your military spouse, you need a military divorce lawyer. Your search for a military divorce attorney in Bergen County, NJ, ends right here at Arons & Solomon.
We handle all issues involved in a military divorce. Typically, a military divorce will involve:
- Providing for maintenance of your military spouse’s lifestyle
- Time-sharing between parents
- Providing for the family’s financial needs
- Division of assets
A family law attorney with experience handling military divorces can make the process much easier. You can rely on the extensive experience of our military divorce lawyers at Arons & Solomon.
Military spouses need legal advice they can rely on. Arons & Solomon offers that and more, including:
- Personalized legal counsel. Unlike many lawyer’s offices, clients speak directly to an attorney when they call Arons & Solomon. We have the ability to handle each case closely since we maintain a select caseload.
- Comprehensive case preparation. At every stage of the divorce process, preparation is key.
- We explain to our clients how they can expect their case to unfold, from beginning to end, to prepare them for the process, offering helpful tips where we can.
- We demand full disclosure of financial information well before settlement or trial. Using this, we prepare for settlement negotiations or litigation.
- We work with a team of divorce professionals, including forensic accountants and mental health professionals, who provide expert support for cases.
- Client-centered services. Some clients prefer to settle their case and avoid court. Other clients need an assertive defense at trial. At Arons & Solomon, we meet the needs of our clients, from mediation to litigation.
Our law office handles all family law matters before all courts, including the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Contact our office today. When you need a Bergen County military divorce lawyer, Arons & Solomon is the right choice.
Is the Military Divorce Process Different from the Civilian Process?
The divorce process itself is not different for military spouses than civilians. But, a military divorce can present challenges that require a special set of skills to handle. These unique challenges can arise anywhere in the process, from beginning to end.
How Do Residency Requirements Differ?
One challenge can arise before the divorce process can even begin: determining residency. Often, a military career means frequent re-assignments and, with each one, a big family move.
Civilians can file for divorce in New Jersey if one or both spouses have lived in New Jersey for at least one year before filing. However, the residency requirements for servicemembers are more relaxed. Servicemembers and their spouses can file for a divorce in the state where:
- Their spouse resides
- The servicemember is stationed
- The servicemember claims legal residence
A servicemember or military spouse can choose to file in any one of these three locations. A knowledgeable military divorce lawyer can help you determine if the state of New Jersey is an appropriate place to file your divorce.
How is Service of Process Accomplished?
When a divorce is filed by a military spouse, issues can arise during service of process. Service of process requires delivery of divorce paperwork to the person being sued.
Since the papers must be physically delivered, there can be obstacles to service on-base or overseas. These obstacles are not insurmountable. However, you will need an experienced military divorce lawyer to ensure the successful, and efficient, service of process.
How Does the Service members Civil Relief Act Impacts Divorce Proceedings?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) permits military servicemembers certain privileges. These privileges are related to a servicemember’s inability to answer a divorce or attend a court hearing.
Under New Jersey law, a person served with a divorce complaint must respond within a 35-day window. Civilians can get a “default” judgment against them for failure to timely respond.
Under the SCRA, a “default” judgment cannot be issued against a military servicemember without meeting additional requirements. In addition, under certain circumstances, the court can stay, or pause, the proceedings for 90 days for the benefit of the military servicemember.
Should the circumstances of the military servicemember require additional stays of the proceedings, still more requirements must be met. A military divorce attorney will be familiar with the types of circumstances that generally justify a stay of proceedings. It’s important to note that a servicemember’s request for a stay is not automatically granted. Their spouse will have the opportunity to object if they have reason to believe that the servicemember’s request for a stay is not in good faith.
Military Divorces: Child and Spousal Support
State laws govern the calculation and award of child support and spousal support, also called alimony. In the absence of an agreement or a court order, temporary support is governed by branch regulation. New Jersey law outlines how courts should calculate child support.
For purposes of child support for military servicemembers, the following sources are included as income:
- Basic pay
- Special pay
- Benefits in lieu of pay (like food and housing)
Benefits in lieu of pay will be valued by an evaluation of the benefit descriptions on the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
While the SCRA’s objective is to permit the servicemember’s attendance at court hearings, temporary support orders may sometimes be issued even when a servicemember is seeking a stay. In situations like this, a military divorce lawyer knowledgeable about the process can request a telephone conference in lieu of an in-court hearing.
The SCRA also allows service members to ask for expedited hearing dates. When their imminent deployment or upcoming service-related treatment would require their absence or participation in an original custody decision or custody evaluation, parents can request an expedited hearing. This request does not waive the parent’s right to ask for a stay of the proceedings.
The state of New Jersey prefers to withhold support from a parent’s check, and military servicemembers may independently elect to have support withheld. Once an order for payment of support is in place, you can request that the Department of Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) garnish your pay.
Parenting and Military Divorce
Military family life can offer some of life’s greatest rewards. Sadly, one of a servicemember’s greatest sacrifices is time away from their families.
New Jersey state law makes arrangements for servicemember parents in custody cases. The law recognizes that a parent may be deployed on short notice. It also makes allowance for an increased risk of physical or psychological injury for servicemember parents.
Courts in New Jersey generally decide child custody and parenting time based on the best interest of the children. Once a final order of child custody is entered, it cannot ordinarily be changed absent a significant change in circumstances of the family.
Deployment & Service-Related Absences
New Jersey law does not allow final custody decisions while a parent is absent for 30 days or more due to deployment or other service-related situations. In addition, courts must wait at least 90 days after a deployed parent’s return before making a permanent decision or changing a final decision.
The law recognizes the need for flexibility for military parents surrounding service-related absences. There are special protections for parents in these situations.
Before a service-related absence, the departing parent must tell the other parent the anticipated dates of the absence and the location where they will be. In turn, during the absence, the child’s other parent must facilitate communication between the child and parent, whether via telephone or other electronic means, like video calling.
Temporary Orders During Periods of Leave
In addition, during leave periods, temporary orders must allow the parent with a service-related absence to enjoy parenting time. When the parent returns home, the end of the temporary change, and the original custody periods begin again.
Courts do not always award custody to non-departing parents. Courts will consider all custody arrangements, including:
- Awarding child custody to the other parent
- Allowing a child to accompany a deploying parent
- Permitting a deploying parent to delegate parental responsibility to a family member with whom the child has a secure relationship
A parent cannot use service-related absence or service-related treatment as a basis for requesting a change in custody or parenting time.
What About Military Retirement and Other Benefits?
Military divorces are similar to civilian divorces in many ways. For example, retirement benefits that are earned while married are considered marital property. But special regulations apply to the disbursement of military pensions.
States can divide military pensions, regardless of the length of the marriage.
Under what is sometimes called the “10/10 Rule,” if:
- Spouses have been married for more at least 10 years and
- The servicemember completes at least 10 years of creditable service during the marriage
The DFAS will pay a servicemember’s former spouse’s share of the pension to them directly.
Under certain circumstances, a former military spouse can continue to enjoy additional benefits, including commissary and exchange benefits. For this to apply, the following conditions must be met:
- Spouses were married for at least 20 years
- Former spouse has not remarried
- The servicemember completed at least 20 years of creditable service during the marriage
One exception applies. Military medical benefits (TRICARE) will be suspended while a former military spouse is eligible for employer-sponsored coverage.
Military spouses enjoy other benefits during the marriage. Until a final judgment of divorce, a military spouse remains eligible for TRICARE. A servicemember’s children remain eligible for TRICARE even after divorce.
There are additional benefits available to the former spouse of a servicemember, depending on the details of the circumstances. When you hire the experienced military divorce lawyers at Arons & Solomon, you can be confident we will get you all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Providing Support to Military Servicemembers and Their Family Members Across Northern New Jersey
Arons & Solomon is proud to offer premiere legal services to military servicemembers and their families throughout Bergen County, NJ and surrounding areas.
We regularly represent military clients in:
- Franklin Lakes
- Upper Saddle River
- Old Tappan
- Saddle River
- And more
If you have any questions about your military divorce, please do not hesitate to connect with our Bergen County family law attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We’d be happy to sit down with you at a time that’s convenient for you.
Contact A Bergen County Military Divorce Lawyer Today
If you will need a family law attorney to handle your military divorce, you want to choose one with knowledge of the special circumstances that apply to military spouses. We handle all matters of military divorce, including child support, child custody, alimony, and division of assets. At Arons & Solomon, you will find a military divorce lawyer who can help make the process less stressful and protect the rights of your military family.