New York Military Divorce Attorney

If you are a service member or are married to a service member and are seeking a divorce in New York, you need an attorney on your side who is experienced with military divorce matters. At Eiges & Orgel, PLLC, we have handled more than 3,000 divorce cases, including complex military divorce cases.

Military divorces involve a number of unique issues as compared with a typical civilian divorce. Governed by both state and federal laws, military divorce involves a number of issues, including child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and division of military benefits and pensions. Because military families tend to relocate more frequently than civilian families, residency and filing requirements are a big consideration when determining which state to file for divorce in. To file for divorce in New York, you or your spouse must either 1) reside in New York, or 2) be stationed in New York.

Serving an Active Military Spouse

The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that gives military members certain rights as they enter active duty. One of the provisions of the act is that divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time that a service member is on active duty and for up to 60 days after their tour of duty ends. Therefore, if you serve your spouse with divorce papers while they are on active duty, please be advised that the divorce action can be postponed. The active duty spouse must be served with a copy of the divorce action and a summons in order for the New York court to have jurisdiction over the military member. In an uncontested case, the spouse on active duty may file a waiver affidavit acknowledging the divorce action instead of being served.

The SCRA & Child Custody

If you are in the military, the SCRA can prevent a judge from issuing court orders about child custody while you are on duty. These delays will allow you the time you need to respond to your legal papers and make arrangements to attend hearings. While this delay may be frustrating to the non-military spouse, the court can still make temporary custody orders in situations where a custody issue needs to be resolved promptly until the service member is able to participate. This both prevents the civilian parent and child from having to wait for the resolution they need while at the same time preventing the active duty spouse from abusing the SCRA just to make the other spouse wait.

Dividing Military Benefits

One of the most complex elements of a military divorce is the division of military benefits. Along with regular New York property division laws, the federal government has enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), which governs how military pensions are calculated and divided at divorce. Federal law will not divide or distribute any military benefits to the civilian spouse unless the spouses have been married for 10 years or longer while the member has been active duty military. However, this “10 Year Rule” is often misinterpreted to mean that military pensions are not divided between spouses who have been married less than 10 years. This is not the case – it simply means that the portion of the divided pension must be paid directly from the military spouse to the civilian spouse rather than from the government.

Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation

If you are considering a divorce, or if you are a service member who has been served with divorce papers, Eiges & Orgel, PLLC can help. Backed by four decades of combined experience, we have a thorough understanding of New York divorce laws as well as the nuances of military divorce. Whether your marriage has been short-term or lengthy in duration, or whether you have few or sizable assets to consider, our New York divorce attorneys have the skill and resources to work towards a favorable case outcome.

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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