New York Military Divorce Attorney
If you are a service member or are married to a service member and are
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
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.
For your convenience, we are open on Saturdays by request.