Just like any other divorcing couple, military service members and their spouses will undergo significant hardships and complications to their lives when divorcing. However, there are some issues that are unique to divorcing military couples. While generally, state law and local procedures govern divorce, there are certain federal statutes and military regulations that may apply to your divorce to protect your rights due to your unique position in the military.
When divorcing in Florida, even as a member of the military, the grounds of divorce remain the same. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that you are not required to state the reason for your divorce, you must simply claim that your marriage is irretrievably broken. In order to obtain a divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must reside in the state or you or your spouse must be stationed in Florida. When filing for divorce when one or both spouses are military services members, a Military Affidavit must be filed declaring that a spouse is in the military and whether they are on active duty. Typically, when one spouse serves divorce papers on the other, the latter has to respond in a certain time period. However, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you are provided with the ability to put your divorce on hold while you are either on active duty or training. The purpose of the act is to prevent active duty military from being divorced by their spouse without their knowledge. However, this does not mean that they cannot consent to the divorce upon papers being filed with the court if they wish for a divorce to be granted in a more timely fashion.
When dividing property, the usual standard of equitable division will apply with the exception of the application of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act which authorizes direct payment of a portion of military retiree pay to the former spouse if they were married for at least ten years while the service member was on active duty. This is because, in some cases, just like a defined pension plan or a 401(k) savings account, military retiree pay is considered a marital asset.
When calculating child support in military divorces, the standard Florida child support calculator will be applied, however, the final amount may not exceed sixty percent (60%) of a military member’s pay or allowances.
Another someone unique issue facing divorcing military couples, is the possibility that the military former spouse will be required to permanently relocate in the future impacting any established custody and time-sharing schedules.
To gain a more in depth discussion of your rights as a divorcing member of the military, contact the Joseph Firm to speak to one of our experienced family law attorneys. For a free case evaluation with The Joseph Firm, please call (305)-501-0922.