Military Personnel and Family Law in Florida

March 9, 2021

When it comes to military families, a unique set of issues tends to arise regarding family law. One of the major complications is timesharing with the children.

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This is a frequent issue because the service member will frequently move to other states or even countries because of military orders. These moves can also include deployments. However, there are statutory provisions in Florida that address the issue of deployments when it comes to timesharing in family law. This is one of the few times where I would strongly suggest that you consult an attorney because these cases are not just run-of-the-mill.

For military families, just like any other parenting plan, one parent will get certain days of the week, and so will the other. However, Florida allows other parties related to the service member to exercise in that timesharing if that service member deploys. But please keep in mind that this can be objected to and challenged. It is essential to understand your particular situation’s nuances to know the best route to take when in litigation.

Now, military divorces can also be very complicated. There is a host of issues that can range from military pensions, retirement benefits, and Tricare. And much like police officers, military members have to deal with the distribution of the Survivor Benefit Plan, where the non-service member may have entitlement to the service member’s pension even after the service member passes away. These retirement pensions and other benefits require scrutiny to determine how they would equitably distribute or be addressed in divorce in the court of law.

This is not something I suggest a party deals with without an attorney, and it’s just too complicated. However, if you move forward with a military divorce without an attorney, you should understand what pensions and benefits the opposing party would be getting.

Another factor to look at is the number of years the service member has been in service and aligning it with the number of years of marriage - as this can also affect the distribution of benefits.

Also, keep in mind that certain protections are put in place for service members deployed while the divorce or paternity action is being initiated.

When it comes to military matters in family law, remember that they are not easy. Although Florida law allows parties to be represented by a counsel to move forward in court cases, I strongly discourage the idea of doing so.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing a family law matter with a military service member, please feel free to contact our office for a consultation.