While a military divorce may be more complex than a traditional divorce, it is nonetheless crucial to understand these complexities to ensure a fair outcome for both parties. Military families often face frequent relocations, which can complicate custody arrangements and property division. Service members and their spouses must also consider factors such as the division of military pensions and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which provides protections for active-duty members.

Each of these elements requires careful consideration and a thorough grasp of federal and Florida state laws to avoid potential pitfalls. An experienced divorce lawyer in Altamonte can help with this.

Understanding Military Divorce in Florida

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must be a resident or stationed in Florida. This requirement ensures that the case is handled within the state where one spouse has established a significant connection.

Military members stationed in Florida are considered residents if they have been in the state for six months. This rule applies even if the service member was assigned to Florida by the military and does not have a permanent home there.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA):

The SCRA’s focus is to provide protections to active-duty military members. This could delay divorce proceedings, as active-duty military members are protected from civil court cases, including divorce, to allow them to focus on their duties. This is to prevent military members from being divorced without their knowledge or being given the opportunity to respond.

Division of Military Pensions:

When it comes to dividing military benefits during a divorce in Florida, things can get rather complicated. Military retirement pay is one of the most significant assets and is usually split between the spouses. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) allows state courts to treat military retired pay as marital property.

A spouse must have been married to the service member for at least ten years, during which the service member must have performed ten years of credible service. This is often referred to as the 10/10 rule. Without meeting this rule, direct payment from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is not possible, but the spouse may still be awarded a portion.
Keep in mind that disability pay is not treated in the same way. It usually is not subject to division because it is intended to compensate for the military member’s personal injury or illness. However, it can impact the amount of disposable retired pay that will be divided.

For health benefits, ex-spouses may be entitled to continued health care coverage under certain conditions. For instance, they can retain full military benefits if they meet the 20/20/20 rule: 20 years of marriage overlapping 20 years of service.

Child Custody and Support

Impact on Parenting Plans

It is common for military duties to affect parenting schedules, as service members might face deployments, relocations, or irregular work hours. Therefore, parenting plans must be flexible to accommodate these changes.

Courts in Florida consider the best interest of the child as the primary factor in evaluating the stability and continuity of the child’s life. Visitation schedules can include virtual communication or extended time during leave periods. Overall, legal protections are put in place to help military parents maintain their custody rights despite their service obligations.

Child Support Guidelines
Child support for military members follows Florida guidelines, which means both parents’ incomes are taken into consideration. Military pay includes base salary and allowances like Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which are factored into child support calculations.

The court will ensure that the child’s needs are met without overburdening the service member. Changes in duty status, like deployment, can impact pay and, consequently, support amounts. Regular reviews might be necessary to adjust payments accordingly.

Let Us Help You Navigate the Complexities of Military Divorce

Military divorce in Florida can be challenging and complex, as service members and their spouses must navigate not only state laws but also federal regulations. These layers of regulations add an extra level of difficulty to an already stressful process. Considerations such as residency requirements, asset division, and child custody are critical, while military-specific issues, including deployment and military benefits, further complicate matters.

Seeking legal advice from attorneys experienced in military and family law is vital to ensuring a fair outcome. At Konicek Law, I can provide you with crucial guidance on how best to approach these various factors, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with me today.

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek

Emily A. Konicek brings 14 years of experience to your family law concerns. Emily excels at mediation, negotiation and litigation, and can help you pursue a course of action that helps you meet your goals for the future and for your family.