A US Air Force Veteran and Dedicated Attorney Who Understands Military Divorce
Every person serving our country in the military understands the concept of sacrifice. Obviously, members of the military are prepared to sacrifice life and limb to defend our country. A deployment can also place serious stress on one’s family life. Sometimes these stresses are too much for a marriage to bear. If you are considering divorce, it is important to recognize the differences between a divorce between civilians and a divorce involving a member of the armed forces. A knowledgeable lawyer will be important for protecting your rights and helping you move forward on favorable terms. At The Marin Law Firm, our Orlando-based office represents members of the military and civilians in military divorces.
Our firm is led by Attorney Carmelina Marin. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Attorney Marin served our nation in the Air Force for more than 10 years, receiving an honorable discharge. With her personal insights into military life as a former servicemember and her legal experience in military divorce as a lawyer, our law firm is a wise choice to compassionately and professionally assist you during this difficult time.
We are ready to handle every issue that could potentially arise in your military divorce, including:
- Florida residency requirements for a divorce
- Obtaining a divorce while deployed
- Property division, including retirement benefits
- Mortgage options when going through a divorce
- Child support
- Child support modifications
- Custody and visitation
- Parental relocation
- Inability to locate a spouse
Although divorce is generally governed by state law, military divorce is also governed by federal statutes such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. These laws determine timing, procedure, and other details of a military divorce. We fully understand these laws and how they may apply to your situation.
At The Marin Law Firm, P.A., we believe our best client is an informed client.Read More
Filing for Military Divorce
One of the basic requirements for divorce is filing in the county you or your spouse resides in. This requirement is more flexible for military personnel. In particular, military servicemembers and their spouses can file for divorce in one of three locations:
- the state in which the filing spouse resides;
- the state in which the military spouse is stationed;
- the state in which the military spouse is a legal resident.
Be aware that, under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, divorce proceedings generally may not commence while a spouse is on active duty or for 60 days after active duty. As a result, any divorce petitions will be postponed until an appropriate time, though a judge has the authority to grant this postponement. When deciding this, the court may consider:
- how the person’s military service affects their ability to appear in court; or
- written communication that the military personnel’s commanding officer that they are not authorized to leave and so cannot appear.
If granted, the postponement will usually be at least 90 days.
Dividing Military Benefits
One important divorce dispute that you will need to settle in your military divorce is how the military benefits will be divided. Florida has a unique set of rules governing this procedure:
- 10-year rule
- 20/20/20 rule
- 20/20/15 rule
Under the 10-year rule, a spouse in a military marriage lasting 10 years or more may receive benefits directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Spouses may be entitled to additional support under the 20/20/20 rule, where they may receive a lifetime of full medical and other privilege benefits. The following requirements must be satisfied to qualify for the 20/20/20 rule:
- the marriage lasted 20 years or more;
- a spouse served 20 years of military service; and
- 20 years overlapped between the marriage and military service.
If you do not qualify for the 20/20/20 rule, you may be eligible for certain benefits under the 20/20/15 rule, where a spouse of a former military serviceperson may receive one year of transitional medical benefits. To qualify for this option, the following criteria must be met:
- the marriage lasted 20 years or more;
- the military spouse served 20 years or more;
- at least 15 years overlapped between the marriage and military service.
Am experienced military divorce lawyer can better guide you through the asset division process to ensure you retain the appropriate benefits you are due.
Child Custody and Visitation Disputes
The parenting plan outlines the custody and parenting time agreement following divorce. Florida law grants significant protection for the custodial rights of parents who are serving. For instance, if a parent is due to be deployed for more than 90 days, they may designate another family member (a stepparent, grandparent, or relative by marriage) to spend time with their child during then. Parenting plans also cannot be modified while the other parent is on active duty, but the court may issue a temporary order to provide for a more flexible parenting schedule during the military parent’s leave. Nevertheless, the court will make all custody decisions based on the best interests of the child, such as:
- each parent's willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- each parent's ability to meet the child's needs;
- each parent's physical and mental health;
- each parent's moral fitness;
- each parent's ability to provide the child with a consistent routine;
- geographic viability of the parenting plan;
- child's adjustment to home and community;
- reasonable preference of the child if of a sufficient age;
- any evidence of domestic violence;
- each parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child;
- the child's developmental age, needs, and abilities.
Military divorces are similar to traditional divorces, but they may have slightly different requirements and procedures. To ensure you put your best foot forward in your military divorce case, work with a lawyer who intimately understands the process. The Marin Law Firm advocates passionately for our military servicemembers and will handle your case with attention and efficiency.
- Avoiding Parenting Plan Pitfalls
- Child Custody Modifications
- Child Support
- Client Resources
- Collaborative Gray Divorce
- Contested / Noncontested
- Custody & Visitation
- Divorce Spousal Abuse
- Enforcing Child Support Orders
- Equitable Distribution
- Family Law
- For Your Golden Years Prenup Agreements
- Inability To Locate Spouse
- International Marriage Divorce
- Interstate International Child Abduction
- Military Divorce
- Mortgage Options When Going Through A Divorce
- Our Testimonials
- Parental Relocation