Military Divorce in Florida

While every divorce may have its unique complications, divorces that involve an active member of the military have special requirements and laws that will apply. The following is a brief overview of common issues in a military divorce in Florida.

Delaying Divorce Proceedings

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 USC section 521) protects soldiers and sailors in active duty from default judgments in all civil actions or proceedings, and a divorce case is no different. If you are filing for divorce, you must inform the court if the opposing party is an active member of any branch of the United States military. Once notified that your spouse is on active duty, a court may stay—which means postpone—the proceedings for the length of the active duty and for a maximum of 60 days following the end of active duty.

This law exists because it is often difficult for an active military member to be notified of a divorce proceeding against them, and for them to have the ability and resources to properly respond to such a divorce filing. The stay period allows them to return home from deployment and take 60 days to retain legal counsel if they wish in order to answer the divorce petition. There are also complications regarding serving a summons to an active military member. Military members must receive personal service of the divorce filing, which may be difficult if they are overseas in a remote area. If a divorce is not contested, however, the military spouse may waive the service requirement.

Child and Spousal Support

Child support to be paid by a military member is calculated via Florida worksheets and laws just like any other child support case. However, Florida law mandates that combined child support and alimony orders may not add up to more than 60 percent of a military member’s monthly allowances and income. With a valid court order, the civilian spouse may be able to have child and/or spousal support subtracted from the military pay and sent directly to them by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

Military Benefits

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) applies only to spouses of a military member in marriages that lasted for at least ten years during the active military service, which also must have lasted at least ten years. This is commonly referred to as the 10/10 rule. In such cases, this law protects the civilian spouses by affording them a certain percentage of the military spouse’s retirement benefits as part of the equitable division of marital property. As with support, the civilian spouse may receive their portion of the retirement benefits directly from DFAS.

Contact an Experienced Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer for Help Today

Divorce attorney Alan R. Burton has extensive experience with all types of divorce cases and family law matters, including military divorce. If you are considering divorce or need assistance with any type of family law case, do not hesitate to contact our office in Boca Raton today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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