Guiding servicemembers through divorce in New York
Divorce is a complicated matter for most. When military members are faced with a divorce, they have a more complicated matter on their hands. Similar to civilian divorces, military members will have to address the same list of relevant issues, including spousal maintenance, child support, child custody and visitation, and property distribution. The difference between military divorces and civilian divorces lie in the process of divorce and the considerations offered to military members that protect their rights while they are away protecting ours. Penichet & Alberga LLP is honored to serve those who are service members. If you are facing a family law matter in New York, contact our firm to serve your needs while you serve your country.
Military divorce and residency requirement
In New York, a couple cannot get divorced unless a court can establish jurisdiction by satisfying a residency requirement. When military members are on active duty, frequent moves and temporary periods outside of the state and the country makes the divorce process complicated and a residency requirement almost impossible to satisfy. Accordingly, New York takes active service into consideration and allow for a more lenient residency requirement. Military members or spouses can file for divorce in the state where the:
- Couple has legal residence
- Military member claims legal residency
- Military member is stationed
Military members and default judgments
When a couple litigates their divorce, they will often have to show up for their court case. They are expected to be on time and follow the rules and culture of the court hearing their case. If one of the spouses does not show, the court will issue a default judgment in favor of the other party. A default judgment is a binding verdict based on the inaction of the opposing party. An active military member is protected from default judgments when they are on active duty under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. A military member must be present or have council present representing their needs. This applies to all family law matters.
Military members and child custody case protection
When a couple goes to court over child custody, the fact that a person is an active service member should not negatively impact their rights to custody. United States law protects service members who are absent for 30 days or more because of deployment or recovering from a service-related injury or sickness. A court cannot rule against them through a default judgment. In addition, the law provides flexibility for issues like temporary custody modifications and hearings.
According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act of 1982, state courts can treat military pension as marital property under the right circumstances. The 10/10 rule details the civilian spouse’s entitlement to a portion of the pension sent directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service if:
- Your marriage lasted at least 10 years
- Your military spouse served creditable military service for at least 10 years
Contact a White Plains attorney to protect you while you serve your country
Penichet & Alberga LLP has a long history of success handling countless family law matters. Our firm is honored to serve those who have spent their time serving their country. While you selflessly protect our rights, we would like to offer you the same. If you are a member in the military facing divorce or family law matters in New York State, you need an effective attorney to represent you while you are away or impacted by your service while at home. Do not hesitate to contact our firm for a consultation. Our office phone number is 914-806-6675.