Military Divorces and Divorce Law – Tampa Bay

If you or your spouse are active duty military and looking for a military divorce attorney in Pasco County, Hernando County , Wendy Doyle is ready to represent you.  Military divorces are subject to a variety of circumstances, mainly regarding jurisdiction, division of retirement benefits and parental relocation.

Military divorce attorney Hernando County, FL

Military Divorces and Jurisdiction

Florida Divorce Law provides an exception for active duty military personnel who are seeking to file for divorce.

Divorcing couples who are active duty may file in the State where they are stationed or they can file for a divorce in the State under the following guidelines.

  • Where You Have Permanent Residency
  • Where You Own Property
  • Where You Last Resided as a Married Couple

Deciding where to file for a divorce can seem complicated so it’s important to consult with a Tampa Bay Military Divorce Attorney who is experienced in this area of family law. Wendy Doyle-Palumbo can help you to determine whether filing for a divorce in Florida would be in your best interest, and can also discuss and navigate through the various challenges that military couples most often encounter when divorcing.

Military Affidavits and Divorce

The Soldier’s and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 governs the law that states that every person who is filing for a dissolution of marriage must file a Military Affidavit declaring whether one or both spouses are members of the military and if so, whether or not they are on active duty. Please discuss with your divorce attorney the specifics and purpose of this declaration.

Division of Property

Division of property or equitable distribution is the same for military divorces in Florida, however questions about the division of military retirement plans often arise. The length of service in the military not the duration of the marriage actually determines whether a spouse is entitled to military benefits paid directly from the military. State Statutes govern entitlement to your spouse’s military benefits, and although you may not meet the service requirement of a minimum of 10 years, a judge can still set forth a direct payment plan based on entitlement. A court cannot order retirement benefits to be paid directly from the military if the duration of service is in question, however the courts can award a payment obligation that would come directly from your spouse.

Division of Military Retirement Plans – There are many unique circumstances specific to the division of a military retirement. It’s important to discuss this with a family law attorney. You can read more below, or to speak directly with Attorney Doyle-Palumbo, please fill out the form below or call 727-824-5727 to schedule a consultation.

Military divorce retirement benefits Tampa Bay

Entitlement of Spouse to Share Retirement

In order for a military spouse to be entitled to receive retirement pay directly from the military you must have been married to a member of the military for a minimum of ten years. This does not mean that you are not entitled to a portion of the benefits, however.

Calculating how much the retirement benefit a spouse would be entitled to is generally decided by using the duration of marriage, however there are other ways to calculate this. Understanding how the point system, thrift savings plans or survivor benefit program can effect your divorce, child support and alimony is crucial to you and your family. Your divorce attorney will look at these areas and will make recommendations as it applies to your situation. Attorney Doyle-Palumbo will pay close attention to the details of your final marital settlement agreement such as making sure the Defense Finance and Accounting Service can divide and disperse the retirement benefits.

Florida Statutes on Concurrent Custody & Temporary Orders for Service Members

Florida statutes allows for the designation of an immediate family member for “concurrent custody” should the service member be deployed. This allows that particular family member to make decisions in the parent’s absence on their behalf. There is also a statute that requires requires the military member to put Temporary custody orders in to effect during a deployment. These are voided upon the members return. Child custody issues often arise in military divorces. If you need a child custody attorney in Pasco County, Hernando County, or in Pinellas County, Florida who will fight for your parental rights , contact Wendy Doyle-Palumbo for a free initial consultation.

Child Support 

Florida law states that both parents are financially responsible for their children. The military also requires that service members financially support their family members. Whether you are married and divorcing, or if you need to establish paternity and set child support, it is important to consult with an experienced Tampa Bay child support attorney.

Child support is calculated utilizing the income or imputed income of both parents as one of the criteria.  As with “seasonal” or other types of employment, military men and women receive differential pay when they are deployed. Pay differential should be included in the average when calculating child support, back child support as well as for alimony calculations except where it does not apply. Time,sharing also applies to how the support will be calculated. If you’re in the military and divorcing, there may be time sharing and income challenges. An experienced divorce lawyer will work through those issues and protect your rights under these unique circumstances.

Health Benefits for Divorcing Military Spouses and Children

There are two different types of health care benefits available to service members, full commissary and transitional health coverage. Your attorney can advise you as to how the children should be covered. If you meet the requirements, the spouse with the military health coverage benefits would be best suited to provide coverage, as it is most always at no extra cost. If you do not meet the requirements, then other options will have to be considered to cover the dependent children and ex-spouses.

Parental Relocation – Planning for Permanent Change of Station or PCS
Florida statutes state that the courts shall hear your temporary relocation requests within 30 days of filing and accommodate a final hearing on the relocation within 90 days of filing. If you cannot arrange for flexible time sharing, you may have to file for parental relocation with the courts and prove that it is in the best interest of the children. A modification of time sharing is also an option if you do not intend on relocating the children when you have a PCS.

Alimony in Military Divorces

In Florida, there are a few different types of alimony that can be awarded.

Read more: Types of alimony awarded in Florida

When the duration of a marriage is under 7 years, the presumption is that alimony will not be awarded. Military spouses however are the exception. Military spouses usually give up careers while they follow their husbands or wives on PCS. You may be entitled to alimony or may be required to pay alimony in such cases.

Enforcement of Divorce Orders and Military Family Support

The military makes it clear that soldiers are required to provide financial support to their family members. If you have reasonably tried to abide by these obligations, yet you are faced with a lawsuit, you may have to answer to the courts. If you require representation in a lawsuit against you, please contact my office for a consultation. If you need a consultation with an experienced military divorce attorney who can represent you with enforcing a current order of child support, alimony or time sharing matter, contact Wendy Doyle-Palumbo. Wendy has two offices to serve our Tampa Bay Military spouses and families in Pinellas and Pasco County, Florida.

Helpful Links:

Hernando County, Florida Veterans Services

Pasco County Veterans Links