What to Know About Military Divorce in New York

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If your spouse is in the military, your divorce process may look different. Read on to learn more about military divorces in New York.

New York residency requirements for military divorces:

All divorces require spouses to fulfill the residency requirements. However, since members of the military are seldom in one place for a prolonged period of time, residency requirements are adjusted to account for these changes. As a result, military members and their spouses may file for divorce:

  • In the state where the U.S. military member currently claims legal residence
  • In the state where the couple has legal residence
  • In the state where the U.S. military member is currently stationed

How do I serve a military member with divorce papers?

To serve your spouse with divorce papers, you will first have to go to the base where your spouse is stationed. From here, the documents will be served through the designated official who acts as the base’s law enforcement officer. It is important to know that your spouse can reject the serve and request a stay. This essentially allows him or her to put off the divorce until he or she returns. It is also important to know that there are no default judgments when it comes to military divorce.  A court may issue a default judgment when a spouse files a Complaint for Divorce and the other spouse fails to respond or be present for the divorce proceedings. When this happens, the court may settle the divorce in favor of the spouse who filed the Complaint and was present in court. However, since military duty oftentimes prevents spouses from being present, courts are not allowed to make any judgments until the spouse returns and is present in court, or until the military spouse has appointed legal counsel to act on his or her behalf.

How does a divorce affect a military pension?

Military pensions are generally regarded as marital property and are therefore subject to equitable distribution. You should also be aware of the 10/10 rule. This rule essentially states that if a spouse has been married for at least 10 years, and the other spouse has served in the military for at least 10 years of that marriage, the civilian spouse is entitled to a portion of the military pension. The award is generally satisfied through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

If you have any questions or concerns about military divorce in New York, contact our firm today. We are here to advocate for you every step of the way.


If you require strong and dedicated legal representation through a divorce or family law matter in Long Island, New York, contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.

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