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Are there any specific laws for military families going through divorce in Florida?

Understanding Divorce Laws for Military Families in Florida

Divorce is a challenging process for any couple, but military families often face unique hurdles due to the nature of military service. In Florida, there are specific considerations and laws that address the complexities associated with military divorces. This article provides a comprehensive look at the legal landscape surrounding military family divorces in the Sunshine State.

Are there any specific laws for military families going through divorce in Florida? image

Military Divorce: A Distinct Category

While civilian couples file for divorce under the standard state statutes, military members must navigate additional federal laws and protections. One such federal law is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which provides certain legal protections for active-duty military personnel. For example, it allows for the postponement of court proceedings if military responsibilities prevent a service member's participation.

Residency and Filing Requirements

In Florida, either spouse can file for divorce in the state if one of them has been a resident for at least six months. For military families, residency can be claimed if the service member is stationed in Florida or if it is their home of record.

Distribution of Military Retirement Benefits

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. These benefits are often considered marital property and may be divided between spouses. Florida courts use an 'equitable distribution' model, which means the division is fair but not necessarily equal.

Child Custody and Support Considerations

Military service can complicate child custody arrangements due to potential relocations and deployments. Florida law requires parenting plans to include provisions that address these issues and aim to minimize impacts on the child's relationship with both parents. Child support obligations are calculated using Florida's guidelines, but allowances like Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) may be included as income.

Spousal Support and Alimony

Alimony is not automatic in Florida divorces; it's based on a spouse's need versus the other's ability to pay. The court considers factors like the length of the marriage, standard of living, and financial resources. For military families, this may include considering benefits like commissary and exchange privileges.

Access to Legal Assistance

Military installations often have legal assistance offices where service members and their families can get help with divorce proceedings. Additionally, private attorneys with experience in military divorces can provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances.

Conclusion

Military families going through a divorce in Florida must consider both state and federal laws, as well as unique aspects of military life that can influence proceedings. With careful planning and professional assistance, it is possible to navigate these complexities and reach an equitable resolution.