Those who are serving in the military and going through a divorce can face unique hurdles.
Divorce is difficult for every couple. Aside from the emotional issues that go along with the ending of a marriage, legal issues involving property division, child support, child custody and spousal support must also be addressed. These issues are present regardless of the career a spouse chooses, but those who are serving our country in the military can face special challenges.
Three challenges that are unique to military divorce are:
- Child custody. Courts in New Jersey generally look at the best interest of the child when determining child custody awards. This includes a review of each parent's medical history, physical capabilities, any presence of drug or alcohol issues and any history of domestic violence. Additional factors taken into consideration can include the parent's geographic proximity to the home and the extent and quality of time the parent has spent with the child. These hurdles can be particularly difficult to those who are in active service in the military. Parents that are serving but are interested in an active relationship with their children can still receive custody of their children, but it may not be easy. Putting together a parenting plan that addresses potential deployment or other issues related to service can help. It is also important to note that the state favors joint custody, encouraging both parents to play an active role in the raising of children.
- Child support. Calculating a child support award when one parent is serving in the military can require a different approach than making the determination for those with civilian positions. Civilians generally provide pay stubs, W-2s and income tax returns. A service member should be prepared to provide his or her Leave and Earnings Statement for a more accurate determination.
- Military pay and benefits. In many cases, military pensions are considered marital property during the asset division determination of the divorce proceeding. As a result, it can be divided like any other piece of property. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act addresses both the division of retirement benefits and health insurance benefits.
These are just a few of the many issues that can arise during a divorce. As a result, those who are considering or recently filed for a divorce are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney. This legal professional will guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.
Keywords: military divorce family law