New Jersey Family Lawyer
For military and Veteran-related divorce issues, contact us as Citizen Soldier Law. At Citizen Soldier Law we will zealously fight for your rights in regard to your military pension, survivor benefits and custody of your children. Attorney Chris Ann Wright is a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court and has extensive experience in divorce, domestic violence and mediation.
Often the first question that comes to mind when obtaining a divorce is “Will I have to pay alimony?” In New Jersey, alimony, whether you are a civilian or military, is governed by N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. Within this statute there are 14 factors to be considered when awarding alimony. In addition, the court will also consider the lifestyle you and your spouse enjoyed while you were married. The good news is that if your marriage was short term, then a spouse may only be entitled to only a few years of alimony. However, if your marriage was 20 years or longer, then a spouse may be entitled to open durational alimony, which could continue the rest of your life or until you retire. In New Jersey retirement usually merits a re-evaluation of alimony no matter how long you were married. In most cases, military service members and first responders retire on the early side, therefore it is important to have a law firm like Citizen Soldier Law, protecting you and your retirement benefits when negotiating alimony.
Pension & Survivor Benefits
Those who proudly serve in our military have a host of retirement benefits that need protection. Benefits such as pensions and survivor benefits plans are governed by the Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA). No matter how long you have served in the military, your pension is divisible under New Jersey law and your survivor benefits may be part of the package. Citizen Soldier Law can help you maximize your benefits.
As military personnel or a first responder, your retirement age may be earlier than that of other professions. Regardless, military disposable retired pay should be examined in conjunction with alimony and child support so that the retired veteran retains as must as possible.
Another issue is survivor benefits. If a military service member dies, an ex-spouse will no longer receive pension division payments. However, under the Survivor Benefit Plan, an ex-spouse can continue to receive some amount of benefit which can be negotiated during the divorce.
In New Jersey, once the parties are divorced, each party must obtain his or her own health insurance. However, in the military you may receive health benefits if you meet the 20/20/20 test. In other words, if you were married to a military service member for 20 years and the service member completed 20 years of creditable service towards retirement and at least 20 years of the marriage overlaps with 20 years of service, then it may be possible for an ex-spouse to receive health benefits through the military.
Custody, Parenting Time & Child Support
As military personnel you may frequently be deployed which means parenting schedules need to be flexible. As a law enforcement officer, you may have special assignments or conduct undercover work, which also means flexibility in parenting time schedules and adjustments to child support. Whatever the issue, Citizen Soldier Law is here to help.
Recently, there was a couple, who were both in law enforcement, who wanted a divorce. The good news is this couple did not fight over custody of the children. They worked opposite schedules and decided to use their work schedules as their custody schedule. When one spouse was off, she had the children. When the other spouse was off, he had the children. Custody and child support were basically defined by the job. Child support in New Jersey is a complex calculation but the two main components are the parents’ incomes and the number of overnights each parent has with the children. Therefore, custody and child support are intertwined. Count on Citizen Soldier Law to look at the big picture and assist you and your family in determining the outcome that’s best for you.
Division Of The Martial Home
Also connected to custody is where everyone will live. Often a contentious issue is the division of the marital home. Who will continue to live in the home? Will one spouse buyout the other? Is the house going to be sold? Was it bought using a VA loan? Does either party plan to buy another home? Whatever the situation, division of your home needs to be fair and equitable so that both spouses can move forward and your children are properly taken care of.
You have too much at stake to try and navigate a divorce on your own. Get help from an experienced legal professional dedicated to making sure you and your family are protected. At Citizen Soldier Law, its veterans helping veterans. Whether you are in the middle of a divorce or have a post judgment issue, we’re here to guide you through the laws and potential pitfalls. To discuss your matter, call Citizen Soldier Law at 973-937-6010.