Military Divorce in New York | What You Need to Know

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A divorce can be incredibly stressful. Things can become even more complicated if your spouse is in the military. This is because your spouse may be away on duty, complicating the residency requirements, as well as his or her availability to respond to the divorce. However, knowing what to expect from the process can help make things easier. Read on to learn more about military divorce in New York.

What to know about residency requirements:

In any divorce, military or civilian, the couple must meet certain residency requirements. When it comes to military divorce in New York, you can get divorced:

  • In the state where the military member is stationed
  • In the state where the couple has legal residence
  • In the state where the military member claims legal residence

What to know about serving divorce papers:

In order for a divorce to begin, you will have to serve your spouse with divorce papers. This can be difficult if your spouse is currently living on a military base. In order to serve divorce papers to a member of the U.S. military, you will have to speak with the base’s designated official who acts as a law enforcement officer. However, even if you serve the divorce papers, your spouse does not have to accept the serve while he or she is on duty. Instead, he or she can request a “stay” on the divorce. This will prolong the divorce until he or she returns from duty.

What to know about default judgments:

Civilian divorces require a spouse to respond when the other spouse files a Complaint for Divorce. When a spouse does not respond or act on the complaint, courts will very issue a default judgment. This essentially results in a verdict in favor of the spouse who filed the Complaint. However, since military duty often prevents spouses from immediately responding to these Complaints, members of the U.S. military are generally protected from default judgments. Therefore, divorces may not be decided without the military member’s physical presence, or without legal counsel representing the military member while he or she is away.

What to know about military pension:

In New York, a military pension is typically treated as marital property. As a result, it will likely be subject to the process of equitable distribution.

If you are going through a military divorce in New York, you will need an experienced divorce attorney on your side. Reach out today to discuss your case.


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