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If you or your spouse are on active military duty, you may be unsure how to initiate your divorce. For one, with one of you being away, you may be unclear on which state has jurisdiction over your divorce case. At the same time, you may have the faintest clue on how a child custody arrangement can work with innumerable miles separating you two. Continue reading to learn the complications with residency commonly addressed in a military divorce and how an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you reach a fair and just resolution.

What are complications with residency commonly addressed in a military divorce?

When initiating your divorce, New Jersey has a residency requirement in which you or your spouse must be a state resident for at least one year before filing. However, this rule may bend slightly if you or your spouse serve in the military. That is, you or your spouse may file for a divorce in New Jersey at any time if either one of you is a servicemember stationed in the state.

Otherwise, if you are the spouse of a servicemember, you may still be granted the option to file in your residential state. On the other hand, if you are a servicemember, you may file in the state where you are currently stationed. Or, you may file in the state where you claim legal residency once you are discharged or retired.

While on the topic of residency, you may wonder how your or your spouse’s frequent relocation or deployment may affect your child custody arrangement. Truthfully, the answer is: not by much. This is because the New Jersey family court almost always carries the belief that a child benefits from maintaining a relationship with both parents. What’s more, it holds that a military parent should earn the same rights over their child as any other parent.

With that being said, it is rather likely that the court will order a joint custody arrangement. And if you or your spouse get relocated or deployed for service, the court may allow a temporary custody arrangement to take effect. For example, it may allow a trusted family member to take care of your child when you or your spouse is away.

What are other complications that are commonly addressed?

Being a military family may come with unique circumstances, making for unique difficulties in your divorce proceedings. Therefore, aside from complications with residency, below are some other complications that are commonly addressed:

  • Complications with dividing assets (i.e., complex assets like military healthcare benefits).
  • Complications with alimony orders (i.e., garnishing military pensions to pay the order).
  • Complications with child support orders (i.e., setting up military allotments to pay to pay the order).

Rest assured, our team at McNerney & McAuliffe has experience in handling cases just like yours. So please do not be afraid to reach out to a skilled Bergen County family law attorney.

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