If you are a part of the military and are considering getting a divorce, you may be wondering what is different about military divorces. Unlike civilian divorces, there are several factors that can make the process more complex. In order for you to reach a fair and reasonable outcome for your divorce, it is important to understand the complexities associated with your unique case.
What is a military divorce?
A military divorce is a dissolution of marriage that occurs when one or both spouses are a part of the military. Just like civilian divorces, there are many reasons why couples in the military may choose to get divorced. However, in Florida there are only two grounds for a dissolution of marriage. These grounds are irreconcilable differences and mental incapacity. These grounds for divorce are still applicable in instances where military members are separating.
How is residency determined for military members?
One of the first steps in filing for a military divorce is to determine your residency. You or your spouse must have been a resident of Florida for at least six months in order to file for divorce in the state. Once you have established residency, you will need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the clerk of court in the county where you reside.
However, it is no secret that military life often means frequent moves or time outside of your official residency. This is why state of Florida is flexible for military service members in terms of residency. For example, according to Florida military divorce law, members of the military just need to record the state as their main place of residence. If you encounter questions about jurisdiction, you can contact our team of attorneys at The Virga Law Firm, P.A..
What if one or both spouses are deployed?
If you or your spouse is deployed at the time you wish to file for divorce, there are a few steps that can be taken in order to move the process along. The first step is to try and come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce outside of court. Once you have done this, you will need to sign and notarize a marital settlement agreement. This agreement should outline all aspects of the divorce including child custody, visitation, alimony, and division of assets. If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can still file for a divorce while one spouse is deployed, but it may be more complicated to do so.
How are child custody arrangements determined during a military divorce?
If you have children, one of the most important aspects of your divorce will be determining child custody arrangements. The state of Florida requires that parenting plans be put in place for divorcing couples with minor children. These plans should address issues such as which parent the child will live with, visitation schedules, and how major decisions about the child will be made.
It is important to keep in mind that if one parent is deployed, they may not be able to adhere to a traditional visitation schedule. In these cases, it is often best to come up with a plan that is flexible and can be adjusted as needed. For example, you may want to consider using Skype or FaceTime to stay in touch when physical visits are not possible.
How is spousal support determined in a military divorce?
Being in the military does not excuse you from your obligation to support your children and your spouse if the need is present. The Department of Defense requires that you adhere to any and all support orders you are issued during your divorce process. Failing to do so can result in serious consequences, including military punishment such as a Court Martial or even separation from military service.
Calculating these amounts is also different depending on the state where you file for divorce, and your position within the military. Furthermore, your obligations will likely change if you’re deployed or sent overseas. This means you’ll need to draft a plan for how these agreements will change when you are sent out on active duty, and this plan will need to be approved as part of your final divorce.
What are some other considerations for military divorce?
In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a few other things to keep in mind if you are getting a military divorce. One of these is the division of military benefits. This can include things like pensions, healthcare, and housing allowances. Another thing to consider is that members of the military are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This means that they can face harsher penalties for things like adultery or not following court orders.
Is an attorney necessary for my case?
Attorneys are not a requirement for every divorce case. However, military divorce presents unique challenges that could use the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A. we are committed to analyzing your case and fighting for the best outcome possible.
Going through a divorce with or as a military member? An experienced attorney can help provide you with the clarification and support you need. Contact the team at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at (800) 822-5170.