Serving in St Johns County, Duval County and throughout Florida
Divorce rates for military families are actually lower than the average divorce rate in the United States. That does not mean, however, that divorces for military members do not happen. Getting divorced as a service member presents unique complications and considerations that the average Jacksonville military divorce attorney may not realize or understand.
At FLA Legal Professionals, LLC, our own MaRia Rogers is retired from the Navy, so she understands the unique pressures and concerns facing military families. She also knows and understands the ins and outs of military divorce.
She also realizes that face-to-face communication is not always going to be possible for some clients. If at least one spouse is a resident of Florida, Ms. Rogers can handle your divorce through e-mails, mail, and phone calls. She work with your and adjust to your schedule to meet your needs.
Because military divorces present their own unique issues, it is particularly important to have a lawyer that has experience in this very specific area of the law. FLA Legal Professionals, LLC can help.
How is Military Divorce Different?
Residency. In an average divorce, both spouses often live in the same location, so it is easy to determine where they should file for divorce. Residency requirements can become difficult to for military personnel, however. For example, Florida has a six-month residency requirement. That is, one or both spouses has to have lived in Florida for the past six months for the Court to have jurisdiction and grant the divorce. If you move frequently or are stationed outside of the country, this requirement can pose a problem.
It is important to note, however, that if your spouse is non-military and does not travel, this requirement may be met. It does not matter if you have not been to Florida in months or years—if your spouse has stayed here, then you have met the residency requirement.
Military Pension. Another difference is the treatment of military pension. For regular pensions, only the divorcing court has jurisdiction over a pension or retirement account. For military pensions, however, only the service-member’s home state has the power to divide the pension account. That may mean that the divorcing court cannot divide the pension in some situations.
In addition, the Court can still give the non-military spouse a portion of this pension even though the service member earned it. This can occur no matter how long the couple has been together.
Each state has slightly different laws that affect military pension, so speaking with your military divorce attorney about this particular aspect of your divorce is especially important.
Time to Respond. A third difference is that service members may have more time to respond to a divorce petition than civilians. If you are on active duty, then you can “stay” or pause the proceedings for a certain amount of time. This can be helpful so you can stay focused on your active duty responsibilities.
Military Child Support Requirements. Military members have different rules regarding child support as well. Each branch (with the exception of the Air Force) has a separate obligation regarding child support. Of course, this requirement will also work with the state requirements as well.
The service member’s pay can also make figuring child support slightly more difficult as well. This is because service members get active duty pay, housing allowances, and a variety of other benefits that might be considered income for child support purposes. Your military divorce attorney can help you decide what you should count as income and what should be excluded.
Additional Benefits for Non-Military Ex-Spouses. Non-military ex-spouses can get healthcare coverage through the military even after a divorce. The Court can also require that the service member purchase a Survivor Benefit Plan so that an ex-spouse still receives benefits after the service member passes away.
Other Unique Considerations
One spouse often forgoes a career or education in a military marriage. Part of the reason behind this occurrence is that military families move frequently. Another contributing factor is that they often have small children who need at home care as well.
That often means that child custody is awarded to the non-military spouse (who has no risk of being deployed or moving suddenly). Child support and alimony are often awarded to the non-military spouse because of these factors as well. The rationale for the alimony, even if it is temporary, is that the non-military spouse needs to gain experience and skills to reenter the workforce after the divorce.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Military Divorce Attorney
Many other factors affect a military divorce that civilian divorce attorneys may not recognize. You want to protect your benefits and rights by using a military divorce attorney who knows the ropes. Maria Rogers is an asset to her military divorce clients, and she can help you as well. Call 904-399-2510 or use our contact form to leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.