Our military members deserve to marry and start families just as much as civilians do, but the reality is that the itinerant life of a serviceperson can significantly delay these life choices. When a couple in which at least one spouse is on active duty decides to begin divorce proceedings, this process can be similarly slowed down. In the video below, divorce attorney David Salvaggio describes the process of a military divorce in New Jersey.
Special Processes for Military Divorce in New Jersey
Members of military families are well aware that the military impacts all areas of their lives, including where they will live, when they can take vacations, and how much they can earn each year. Although it seems like a personal matter, divorce among military families can be more complicated, especially when one of the spouses is active duty. The process for military divorce in New Jersey differs from that of a standard divorce; there is a higher chance that the couple will require special considerations from the court due to location, benefits, or other specific circumstances.
New Jersey courts make special accommodations for military families because the state understands that servicemembers may be away from their families for long periods. The servicemember or her or his spouse may file for divorce in New Jersey if the servicemember is currently stationed in New Jersey, the service member’s spouse currently resides in New Jersey, or the servicemember claims New Jersey as his or her permanent residence. Like anyone being called to court, active duty military members must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce complaint in order for a New Jersey court to have jurisdiction. If the divorce is uncontested—that is, if both parties want a divorce and have come to an agreement over support, child custody, and how property is to be divided—the active duty spouse may waive personal service to speed up the process.
Many courts will allow servicemembers stationed away from New Jersey to appear via telephone or video conference if immediate legal action is required. If appearing remotely is not an option, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows a court to stay or delay legal proceedings until the servicemember is available. However, a spouse may still be able to get a court order for temporary child support while the stay is in place.
If you are a member of the armed forces and have questions about military divorce in New Jersey, please contact our office for a free phone consultation. There is never a charge for initial telephone conferences. We welcome phone calls from potential clients, even if you are not sure whether or not you are ready to go forward.
Not ready to call? Read our comprehensive guide to getting divorced in Morris County to learn more about the New Jersey divorce process.