Florida Military Divorces
A military divorce in Florida, which may occur when one or both spouses are active within the military, comes with a unique set of issues and challenges compared to the typical divorce proceedings. Laws have been set up to prevent the active duty spouse from being held in default for failing to respond to a divorce action. These laws were originally enacted to prevent a military member from being divorced without their knowledge, but it has expanded to include a number of issues that can complicate an already messy situation.
Timing of Divorce
Under 50 USC 501, et seq, the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows a divorce proceeding to be postponed for the entirety of an active military spouse’s deployment and up to sixty days afterward. The timing requirement under SCRA can be waived by the active duty member if they wish to expedite the divorce.
Serving a Spouse and Other Requirements
The rules under the same act state that the active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for the Florida court to have jurisdiction. However, in an uncontested case of military divorce, the active duty spouse may not have to be served as long as they sign and file a waiver affidavit acknowledging that they know about the divorce action.
In addition, in order to meet the residency requirement, you or your spouse must either live in or be stationed in Florida for at least six months prior to the filing of divorce. The grounds for filing are the same as in a civilian divorce.
Division of Property
Along with the typical Florida division of property rules, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs how military retirement benefits are divided upon divorce. The purpose of the act is to recognize the right of the state courts to distribute military retired pay to a former spouse and provides a method of enforcement through the federal Department of Defense. In order for the spouse of a military member to qualify under USFSPA, the marriage must have lasted at least ten years while the other spouse was on active duty.
Child Support and Alimony
Under Florida law, both child support and any alimony awards are not allowed to exceed more than sixty percent of the military spouse’s pay and allowances. The state uses the civilian worksheets and support tables to determine what the proper amount of child support should be paid. Any alimony payments must keep the total amount of support under the sixty percent threshold.
Call a Orlando Divorce Attorney Today
Military divorces are not the same as civilian divorces, and you need an attorney with a knowledge of how the two cases differ. If you or someone that you know wishes to get a military divorce in the Orlando area, let the office of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential review of your case.