Military Divorce in Florida
All divorce matters are unique, however divorces that involve an active member of the military have special requirements and laws that apply. Here is some useful information common in a Florida military divorce:
Delay of 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 (including divorce). If you are filing for divorce, you must inform the Court if the opposing party is an active member of the United States military. Once notified that your spouse is on active duty, a Court may stay the matter for the length of the active duty and for a maximum of 60 days following the end of active duty.
The stay period allows the active member of the United States military to return home from deployment and take 60 days to retain legal counsel and file an answer to the divorce petition. It should also be noted that active members of the United States military must receive personal service of the divorce petition filing. This can often be challenging if the person is abroad or overseas. However, if the divorce is uncontested, the service requirement may be waived.
Child Support and Alimony
Child support in a military divorce case is calculated in the same manner as all divorce cases in Florida. Child support is calculated by use of Florida’s child support guidelines worksheets, which considers each party’s income, daycare expenses, and health insurance costs. Alimony is primarily based upon one party’s need for spousal support and the other’s party’s ability to pay. 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 support and/or alimony subtracted from the military pay and sent directly to them by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).
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.
Attorney Ryan T. Fasso has extensive experience handling all divorce matters, including military divorces. If you are in need of a free consultation, please call attorney Fasso today at (813) 856-6038.