Military Divorce in Florida requires that either the husband or wife, must live 6 months in Florida before filing a divorce petition. Florida residency is established with a current driver license, a valid Florida ID or witness sworn statement that can validate a divorce filer’s residency. Florida laws have provisions in place for active military personal that are stationed outside of Florida. The requirement for residency only needs to be established for one of the spouses.
A filer must have resided in the state of Florida for the past 6 months even if his or her home state or deployment is elsewhere. Military Divorce is essentially the same as a normal Divorce with the exception of the Florida residency requirement. Depending on the individual circumstances Alimony, Child support, Custody, Marital Property, Debt Dividing and all other Divorce related disputes and issues will be handled the same as a normal Civilian Divorce.
Military protection against divorce proceedings
Military members who are on active duty cannot be held responsible if they do not respond to a divorce action. Divorce proceedings can be postponed the entire time a military member is on active duty typically in times of war. An additional 60 days is granted after active duty is over. This is to protect active military members from being divorce without their knowledge. This protection can also be voluntarily waived by an active military member if he or she wishes.
How is a Dissolution of Marriage different when either party is a member of the military?
While the basic procedure of a Dissolution of Marriage is no different if there is a member of the military involved, there are some aspects of equitable distribution that is different when there is a member of the military who is a party to a dissolution of marriage.
If my spouse is on active duty, will that affect the progress of the case?
If your spouse is on active duty during the course of the Dissolution of Marriage case, you will need to state that in your pleadings.
What does ‘Active Duty’ mean?
If your spouse is in the reserves of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard; if your spouse is a member of the Florida National Guard and was called for active duty for a period of more than 30 days.
Will my spouse get any of my military benefits as part of the Dissolution of Marriage?
Whether your spouse will be able to receive any of your military benefits, it depends on the length of the marriage and the amount of time that you have been a member of the military.
What benefits will I be able to receive from my spouse as their military benefits?
If you qualify to receive benefits from your spouse’s military retirement pay, there are certain parts of the pay that you may not be entitled to. The benefits that you will receive is called ‘Disposable Military Retirement Pay’. Any debts that the member of the military owes to the government will be deducted. Any percentage of the member of the military’s income that is considered disability by the military is deducted. If you are receiving benefits as part of their pension, those funds are also deducted.
What about a military pension?
If you or your spouse is a member of the military, they will be entitled to a portion of your military pension. Just like if you have a pension or retirement account from a non-military job, the other party would have a claim for a portion of the marital portion of the account.
There is a specific formula to determine the amount that you are entitled to. The non-military spouse will receive one half of the “Disposable Military Retirement Pay” times the number of years of service while married divided by 20.
This applies to pensions for active duty military members. There is a different formula for a spouse who is on reserve duty.
What if I have been in the military for more than 20 years?
The most that other person would be entitled to is 50% of the Disposable Military Retirement Pay.
Will I be able to receive medical benefits if my spouse was in the military?
There are three things that need to happen for you to qualify for permanent medical benefits: a) Married for 20 years or more to the date of the Final Judgment; b) 20 or more years of military service as an active member (or if under 20 years of active duty, but with enough reserve time to qualify for more than 20 years of service); c) Married for 20 years during your spouse’s active military service (or if under 20 years of active duty, but with enough reserve time to qualify for more than 20 years of service).
If you get remarried, you will lose these benefits. You will also lose these benefits as an ex-spouse if you have health insurance through your employer.
If I have a Final Judgment and the other party is in the military and is deployed, can I change the time sharing schedule?
A person cannot seek a permanent modification of a time sharing arrangement when a parent is activated on military policy. However, a temporary modification can be sought if there are other factors including the deployment to support the modification. If the parent is deployed for more than 90 days, another person can be designated to exercise the time sharing. The person who can be designated to substitute for the parent is limited.