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Can I File For a Military Divorce in NJ If I Am Not a Resident?

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If you are a member of the military and considering divorce or annulment in New Jersey, there are special rules that apply that will impact your rights and the process of formally terminating your relationship.  Members of the armed services and their spouses may face less stringent residency requirements in terms of where the divorce or annulment may be filed.  The fact that military members and their spouses may have different home states, and the military serviceperson may be stationed on a base in yet a third state can create enormous logistical problems.  We know that many parties considering military divorce are unsure where they can and should filed for divorce or annulment so are experienced New Jersey military divorce attorneys at the Micklin Law Group have provided an overview of these logistical issues.

New Jersey state law permits members of the military and their spouses to file for divorce in NJ, if they are stationed in New Jersey without satisfying the New Jersey residency requirements that apply to civilian divorces.  The residency requirement may be shortened or waived in cases involving military divorce.  If you are in the military or a spouse of someone in military service, you have a choice of forums for your divorce including:

  • State where the military member is stationed
  • State of spouse’s residence
  • State of residence of armed service member (home state or place serviceperson plans to live after military service)

Military divorces require careful planning because many military divorces are filed where the member of the military is stationed.  However, after the military member has completed his or her term of service, both parties typically move back to their home states.  Because the state where the original divorce was filed has continuing jurisdiction over the divorce, the parties face enormous challenges if they need to seek post-judgment modifications or enforcement.

It is extremely common for parties following a divorce judgment to seek modifications of child parenting time arrangements, child support, alimony or enforcement of child support and/or alimony obligations. If you are the spouse of a military member, this may mean serving your spouse who lives in New York so that your modification can be heard in New Jersey while you live in California.  We attempt to avoid these logistical complications by moving to have the case transferred to the home state of our client.  If neither spouse still lives in the original state where the divorce was filed (state of military base), the court will usually approve transfer to the new state court.


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