How do I get a Military Divorce?

Members of the U.S. military are some of the most honorable, courageous men and women our country has to offer. Unfortunately for them, when a service member or their spouse wishes to get a divorce, the process is sometimes more complicated than a civilian divorce. If you are currently serving our country and are curious about the military divorce process, here are some of the questions you may have:

What are residency requirements?

Most standard divorces involve what are known as residency requirements. Essentially, the resident requirements in a civilian divorce are as follows:

  • Both spouses have lived in New York in the year before the divorce and either got married in New York, lived in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for the divorce occurred in New York
  • Both spouses have lived in the state without interruption for a minimum of two years
  • Both spouses are residences on the day of filing

However, if you are a member of the U.S. military, New York State understands that you very often do not stay in the same place for more than a few months at a time. This is why service members are generally granted special residency requirements. According to these special requirements, a military service member or spouse may file for divorce:

  • In the state where the military member is stationed
  • In the state where the couple has legal residence
  • In the state where the military member claims legal residency

What is default judgment?

In a civilian divorce, if the defendant fails to appear in court on the scheduled date, he or she will generally be considered “in default.” One can see how this may be a huge problem if you are stationed overseas or your duty to the U.S. military prevents you from appearing in court at any given time. Thankfully, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act protects spouses from a default judgment in a military divorce. Therefore, you may not be judged unless you are present at the hearing or have acquired counsel to represent you.

How will a divorce affect my military pension?

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act of 1982, also known as the “10/10 rule”, states that a military pension may be divided equitably in a divorce. If you and your spouse are married for 10 years during a 10-year period where you or your spouse were on active duty in the military, your military pension may be divided equitably. 

Contact our experienced Suffolk County firm

Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.