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Military Divorce

Tampa Military Divorce

Divorce Lawyer for Tampa, FL

A military divorce has different rules compared to a civilian divorce, which is why different state and federal laws apply. In Florida, there are certain laws that protect an active military member from being held in default if they fail to respond to a divorce action. Such rules came about in order to protect military personnel from being divorced by a spouse without proper notification. The Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS §521, and a court ruling may postpone divorce during the time a soldier is on duty, and for up to 60 days after.

If a military member knows about the divorce, they may waive the postponement and carry on with the divorce proceedings. Those who are divorcing a retired military member also face different divorce and financial division regulations. Depending on how long a couple has been married, a spouse may not be entitled to the soldier's retired pay. If you are attempting to divorce a soldier, or if you are a soldier who is facing divorce, contact the Tampa divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo as soon as possible.

Requirements for Military Divorce

If you wish to divorce a solider while they are on active duty, the spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action. This way, the Florida court system will have jurisdiction over the soldier. In an uncontested divorce, or a divorce where both spouses agree to amicably separate without the assistance of a court, a soldier may not have to be served with divorce papers as long as they sign a waiver stating they agree to continue the divorce process. In order to file for a military divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must live or be stationed in Florida for a minimum of 6 months. Divorcing a retired military member and receiving part of their military retirement fund depends on multiple factors.

Florida law states that retirement benefits earned while the couple was married should be equally distributed. This does not mean that the non-member automatically receives half of the entire retirement fund, nor are they entitled to receive more than 50%. If the military member was enlisted prior to marrying their spouse, or continues to serve after the divorce, they will not have to split the money earned for retirement during that timeframe. The couple must also be married for a minimum of 10 years, and the member must have served in the military during that time in order for the non-member to receive money from the Department of Defense. This is also known as the Ten-Year rule.

The 20-20-20 rule means that a marriage has lasted for at least 20 years, with the member serving at least 20 years of duty that overlapped the marriage for at least 20 years. If this is the case, a non-member can receive all military benefits of the retired military spouse. Survivor benefits must also be discussed in the final divorce proceedings. Members may not want to award survival benefits to their non-member spouse because it lowers the net amount they can receive. There is no law stating the specifics on how survivor benefits should be handled in divorce, so it is usually determined by the court.

Our Firm Can Help

According to Florida law, child support and spousal support/alimony cannot exceed 60% of a military member's pay and allowances in a military divorce. Normal child support guidelines and schedules are applied, but the member is not expected to pay more than 60% of their earnings towards their spouse or child. Military divorce is a complicated process, and different state and federal laws apply to spouses than those who are seeking a normal civilian divorce.

Even if a couple agrees to an uncontested divorce, one spouse should hire an experienced attorney to ensure that the process is properly resolved. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo may be able to assist clients in every military divorce aspect. We have extensive knowledge about the military divorce laws and rules of Florida, and we can help divide your property and determine the proper amount of child and spousal support according to military regulations. Please contact our firm, or feel free to fill out a complimentary case evaluation form on our website.

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