Are you or your spouse seeking a divorce in Monmouth County, New Jersey? If either of you are members of the military, being in the service impacts aspects of the divorce process. To protect your best interests and ensure the divorce process is handled correctly, you need to hire an experienced Monmouth County military divorce lawyer.
Our Monmouth County divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC understand the state, federal, and military laws governing divorces for service members and their spouses. Our founding lawyer Jennifer McCaskill has over 20 years of experience handling divorce cases. She has devoted her law practice exclusively to family law matters since she graduated from law school.
Our attorneys have considerable expertise, skills, and resources after helping thousands of families with family law matters. The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC has the experience to handle complex divorce cases, including child custody in Monmouth County or child support.
How The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill Can Help You With Your Military Divorce in Monmouth County, NJ
When you hire our Monmouth County military divorce lawyers, you can trust that you are placing your case in the hands of skilled, aggressive advocates in family law. We protect our clients from being taken advantage of during the divorce process. This dedication is especially important when one spouse is a member of the military.
When you hire our top-rated New Jersey divorce lawyers, you can trust that we will:
- Explain how being in a military family impacts the divorce process
- Analyze every aspect of your divorce case to develop a personalized strategy to achieve your desired outcome
- Help you protect the best interests of your children
- Work to obtain a fair property settlement agreement that provides sufficient resources for your future
- Work with a team of divorce professionals and experts as needed
- Provide support, guidance, and legal advice throughout the divorce process
- Defend you against allegations of domestic violence and other wrongdoing
- Aggressively represent your interests during divorce settlement negotiations and at trial
A Monmouth County divorce attorney with experience handling military divorces can make the process less stressful. Call us today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced military divorce lawyer in Monmouth County, NJ.
Understanding Jurisdiction for a Military Divorce in New Jersey
When a spouse is in the military, it can impact the jurisdiction of the divorce case. It also impacts the service of process and the timeline for a divorce.
Civilians can file for divorce in New Jersey if one or both spouses have lived in the state for at least 12 months before filing the divorce petition. However, military members and their spouses might have the right to file in another state. They might be able to file in a state where:
- Their spouse lives;
- The service member is stationed; or,
- The service member claims as their legal residence.
Our lawyer helps you decide which jurisdiction would be best for your situation. We also understand the special rules that serving in the military can have on the service of process.
When you file a divorce petition in New Jersey, you must serve a copy of the divorce papers on your spouse. New Jersey has rules for service of process, but the military also has rules for serving legal papers on a service member when the person is on active duty.
Being on active duty overseas or on a military base can complicate the service of process. A knowledgeable Monmouth County military divorce lawyer understands the various ways to overcome this obstacle to move your divorce case forward as efficiently and quickly as possible.
The Service Members Civil Relief Act Can Impact the Timeline for New Jersey Divorce Proceedings
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows service members certain privileges regarding civil actions, including divorce cases. Because of these special privileges, military divorces can take longer than civilian divorces. One reason is that a military service member can request a pause in the court proceedings.
Typically, if a spouse does not respond to divorce papers within 35 days, a spouse can request a default divorce judgment from the court under New Jersey divorce laws. However, you cannot get a default divorce judgment against a service member without meeting additional requirements.
In some situations, a military spouse can request a 90-day pause in the divorce proceedings. If the military spouse requires additional stays of the divorce proceedings, the SCRA might allow for those stays. The SCRA takes precedence over state divorce laws.
However, a military spouse cannot abuse the rights provided by the SCRA to avoid a divorce proceeding. Therefore, we carefully examine the request for a pause by military spouses and object to the request if the spouse is acting in bad faith to delay the divorce.
Calculating Child Support Obligations and Alimony Payments in Military Divorce Cases in New Jersey
Parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their child. New Jersey uses child support guidelines to calculate child support obligations. New Jersey also has laws governing how alimony is calculated and paid.
However, calculating child support obligations and spousal support payments is complicated when one spouse is a military member. The military uses different rules to define “income” for child support and alimony calculations. The rules used by the military branch for domestic support could result in a lower amount of support than would be required in a civilian divorce.
How Does Being in the Military Impact Child Custody and Visitation Orders in Monmouth County?
Military families face challenges as parents. For example, a service member might be deployed for long periods. It can make developing a parenting plan and visitation schedule challenging.
However, military service members have the same rights to custody as civilian parents. They can be the primary custodial parent or have sole custody.
The SCRA helps protect the rights of military parents during a divorce proceeding. However, New Jersey has numerous child custody laws that make arrangements for military parents in custody cases.
While New Jersey child custody laws require judges to decide cases in the best interest of the child, it does not allow final custody decisions to be entered while a parent is absent for more than 30 days because of deployment or service-related situations. Additionally, the court must wait at least 90 days after the parent’s return before issuing a final decision in a child custody case.
When a military parent is going to be deployed or absent because of service-related reasons, they must tell the other parent. The other parent must facilitate communication between the military parent and child. Communication may be by any electronic means, including telephone calls and video calls.
Property Division in a Monmouth County Military Divorce
“Fair” does not always mean a 50-50 split. The judge uses numerous factors to decide what is fair if the spouses cannot agree to a property settlement agreement. Equitable division applies in military divorces in Monmouth County.
However, there are special rules regarding military benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) dictates how military pensions, retirement benefits, healthcare benefits, and survivor benefits are divided in a military divorce.
The division of some military benefits can depend on the length of the marriage and whether the former spouse has remarried. An experienced Monmouth County military divorce lawyer can help you receive your fair share of pensions, retirement, and other benefits during and after the divorce.
Domestic Violence Charges During a Divorce Can Impact Military Service
Many state laws prevent a person convicted of domestic violence from possessing a firearm. Federal law prohibits almost all persons convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms. If you cannot possess a firearm, you cannot serve in the military.
Furthermore, domestic violence is considered a crime of moral turpitude under 18 U.S. Code Sections 921 and 922. A crime of moral turpitude makes a person ineligible for service in any branch of the military.
Therefore, being accused of domestic violence during a Monmouth County military divorce is a serious matter. A person might falsely accuse their spouse of domestic violence for revenge or because they believe the accusations give them an advantage in divorce proceedings.
If you are in the military, it is crucial that you hire an experienced Monmouth County military divorce lawyer with experience defending domestic violence cases. An experienced lawyer can help you fight the charges to avoid consequences with your military career.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Monmouth County Military Divorce Lawyers
When you choose an attorney to handle your military divorce, you want a lawyer who understands the unique circumstances that apply to military divorce cases. Our experienced Monmouth County military divorce attorneys thoroughly understand all matters related to military divorces. Call us to schedule your free case evaluation to discuss how we can help you protect your rights as a military family.