Burlington County Military Divorce Lawyer
Experienced Burlington County New Jersey Family Law Attorney Handles Military Divorce
The process of divorcing when you are a United States military service member is particularly challenging. In addition to all of the personal, financial, and emotional aspects of ending a marriage, military divorce is governed by rules that are different than those for a civilian divorce.
The Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC is an experienced military divorce law firm. Attorney Stephen R. Piper served in the military for 23 years and has helped families located in Burlington County and throughout New Jersey with a wide range of family law matters for more than 18 years.
Legal Protections for U.S. Service Members
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides United States military service members with a broad range of legal protections. Among those protections are those pertaining to court proceedings. Under the SCRA, military service members cannot be taken to court for civil proceedings, including those for divorce or child support.
Service members can request a temporary halt on any civil action brought against them while they are on active duty or within 90 days of discharge from active duty. So if a spouse files a custody order while the other spouse is deployed, the deployed spouse is protected under the SCRA. All active duty service members, members of the National Guard, and reservists are protected under the SCRA.
Jurisdiction for Military Service Members
One of the first challenges facing United States military service members when they are pursuing divorce is jurisdiction — determining which court has the legal authority to rule on a divorce proceeding. For civilians, this issue is more straightforward: divorces are filed in the state of legal residence. For service members who move frequently, this issue is more challenging.
New Jersey provides military service members greater flexibility regarding the residency requirement in a military divorce. In New Jersey, the service member and their spouse may select one of three options as follows:
- State of legal residence for the filing spouse
- State of legal residence for the military service member, or the state in which the service member intends to live upon discharge from the military or upon retirement
- State where the military service member is currently stationed, even if neither the spouse nor the service member is a resident of the state of New Jersey
The state in which a divorce is filed is significant. Several aspects of a military divorce, such as child support, child custody, alimony & spousal support, and division of property are determined by the laws of the state in which the divorce is filed.
Child Custody In A Military Divorce
One of the biggest challenges in a military divorce pertains to the issue of child custody. Because military service involves deployments and relocations, many military service members have questions regarding what impact this has on their child custody arrangements. In a military divorce, the issue of child custody falls under the laws of the state in which the divorce was filed. Those laws determine whether the relocation warrants a change in child custody, if the service member must request permission to relocate with their child, and other matters. The Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC is experienced in handling all aspects of military divorce for residents of Burlington County and those throughout New Jersey including issues of child custody, child support, and spousal support.
New Jersey Military Divorce Lawyer Is A Former U.S. Service Member
When you are going through something as personal as a divorce, you want a divorce lawyer that can relate to and truly understand your situation. Not many divorce lawyers understand what a military job is like. But New Jersey divorce attorney Stephen R. Piper does.
Attorney Piper has 23 years of military experience, spending seven years of active duty in the United States Navy prior to his transition to the United States Air Force Reserve. With deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and South America, and more than 170 combat missions flown as a pilot, he lived the military life for more than two decades. Furthermore, when Attorney Piper was on active duty, he went through a divorce.
As a retired Lieutenant Colonel and family law attorney, Attorney Piper is dedicated to helping United States military service members navigate the legal challenges inherent in a military divorce. The Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC provides compassionate, experienced counsel to New Jersey service members and their families on all family law matters. To schedule a free confidential consultation with The Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC contact our office today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Burlington County Military Divorce
FAQ: Do I need to prove my spouse was at fault to obtain a military divorce?
Because military divorces are governed by both federal and state laws, trying to navigate the process as a service member can be quite confusing. Grounds for a military divorce are governed by state law. In the state of New Jersey, spouses may file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences”. What this means is that the parties do not need to prove fault or place blame for the marriage’s failure on either spouse. So if you are a service member filing for a military divorce in New Jersey, you are not required to prove fault as grounds for your divorce.
FAQ: Can a regular divorce lawyer handle my military divorce?
While a lawyer that is licensed to practice family law is permitted to handle military divorce, it is in your best interest to obtain representation from an attorney that specializes in military divorce. Filing for a military divorce is more complicated than filing for a civilian divorce due to the overlapping federal and state laws that govern military divorce. A military divorce attorney who possesses the necessary knowledge and experience in handling military divorce cases can effectively advocate on your behalf. Attorney Stephen R. Piper is a former military service member and family law attorney with extensive experience handling military divorce, working with New Jersey military service members for the best possible outcome in each case.