Are you or your spouse in the military and considering a divorce in Orlando, FL? It’s important to understand that military divorces can be particularly complicated. An experienced Orlando military divorce lawyer at Conti Moore Law, PLLC, can help you through the process and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your family.
Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience helping families resolve complex issues here in Central Florida. We understand the laws that might impact your case inside and out.
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How Conti Moore Law, PLLC Can Help You With Your Military Divorce in Orlando, FL
Getting a divorce is almost always a complicated decision. The situation can become even more overwhelming if one spouse is a member of the U.S. military. In military divorce cases, you’ll have to understand how state, federal, and military laws will impact the Florida divorce process.
Our experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at Conti Moore Law, PLLC, are here to help. We understand how military and civil laws overlap. We’ve been handling complex family law matters for over 50 years – and we know how to help you overcome the challenges you may face during the divorce proceedings.
When you hire our attorneys, you’ll gain compassionate advocates who will:
- Listen to your story and develop a custom-tailored approach for your family
- Help you understand the military divorce process
- Handle all negotiations with your former spouse and their attorneys
- Explore options to mediate complex contested issues
- Develop a divorce plan and solutions that meet your family’s unique needs
Our Orlando divorce lawyers would be proud to help your family get the fresh start you deserve. We’re always here to help, so give us a call to schedule a 100% free consultation to learn more today.
Overview of Military Divorce Laws in Florida
To obtain a divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must satisfy certain residency requirements. Specifically, at least one spouse must be a Florida resident for at least six months before the couple can obtain a divorce in Florida. You must also be a resident of the county where you file the divorce papers. In Orlando, spouses file divorce papers in Orange County.
Florida military divorce laws are more lenient. Members of the military who are stationed in Florida are treated as though they live in the state of Florida. They can also file for divorce in their state of permanent residence or where they last resided with their spouse.
Serving divorce papers is one aspect that can become complicated if the military spouse is deployed overseas on active duty. In a typical divorce, papers are physically served on one spouse through the local sheriff’s office. However, in uncontested divorces, it’s possible for the deployed military member to waive service.
What Is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that allows military servicemen and women to suspend and postpone certain obligations. It is intended to provide relief to servicemen and women who are unable to satisfy certain civil obligations because of their military obligations.
For example, in the state of Florida, a spouse has only 20 days to respond after being served with divorce papers. If you file papers against a spouse who is on active duty, the SCRA allows them to petition the court to delay their response for up to 90 days. It’s also possible that the judge could grant a longer extension, depending on the circumstances.
To obtain relief under the SCRA, the spouse must both apply for relief and state that they are on active duty. In other words, relief is not automatic.
How Can I Establish Grounds for a Military Divorce in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Military divorce cases are no different than your typical civilian divorce.
You have grounds for divorce if:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken, or
- One spouse suffers from a mental illness that has lasted at least three years
In most cases, people file for divorce based on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The term “irretrievably broken” can mean virtually anything. It basically means that either party can file for divorce simply because they want to end the marriage.
Common Child Custody Issues in Military Divorce Cases
Child custody can be a complex issue in any divorce. It can be even more complicated in a military divorce. Often, typical child custody arrangements won’t work if the military service member is deployed.
Florida courts apply the best interests of the child standard in determining child custody matters. Each parent has equal parenting rights. Still, the courts consider the child’s well-being to be more important than either parent’s right to be present in the child’s life.
Many different factors are important in determining what is in a child’s best interests, including:
- Each parent’s role in the child’s life prior to divorce
- The child’s routine and any special needs
- Each parent’s living situation
- Each parent’s mental and physical health
- Any history of abuse
- Each parent’s ability to provide financial support
- Each parent’s ability to maintain a close relationship with the child
Being deployed on active duty can complicate these matters, but the non-military parent will not automatically be granted sole custody. However, the courts will consider how frequently the service member is deployed in determining what is in the child’s best interests. In reality, custody is often granted to the non-military parent if the child’s other parent is frequently deployed.
As parents, it may be possible to reach an agreement that factors in the military member’s duties. Under Florida state law, that agreement can’t be changed while one parent is deployed to active duty. An exception to the rule allows for changes if the change is in the child’s best interests.
Our lawyers in Orlando can help you develop a parenting plan that puts your child’s needs first. If necessary, we can help you through the mediation process or help you collaborate with your former spouse. To learn more about your options, call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Child Support and Spousal Support Obligations in Military Divorce Cases
Under Florida law, each parent is required to support their child financially. Service members are equally obligated to provide financial support to children. Depending on the circumstances, they may also be required to provide spousal support or alimony.
In military divorce cases, child support and spousal support are handled the same way as in civilian divorces.
Many factors come into play in determining whether to grant spousal support, including:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each party’s ability to support themselves financially
- Whether one party gave up career opportunities to care for children
- Each party’s financial situation prior to the marriage
- The couple’s standard of living during the marriage
Several types of spousal support may be available. The court may order one spouse to pay support for a specific amount of time or during a rehabilitative period where the receiving spouse develops necessary employment skills.
Typically, federal law limits the amount of spousal support that can be awarded.
Do you have questions about your legal rights in situations involving child support or spousal support? Contact our experienced lawyers for a free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help you find solutions.
Division of Marital Assets and Liabilities
Florida follows equitable distribution rules when it comes to dividing marital assets and liabilities in a divorce. Basically, the rules require that assets and liabilities be divided fairly between the two spouses. These same principles apply in military divorce cases.
Still, matters can become more complex when a member of the military files for divorce. Military retirement benefits must also be divided between the spouses. Division of certain military benefits is governed by the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).
The USFSPA governs the division of:
- Military pensions
- Healthcare coverage
- Survivor benefit plans
To receive benefits from the U.S. government, one spouse must have been married to a military service member for at least ten years prior to the divorce. However, it’s also possible that the military service member could be required to pay the ex-spouse some military benefits even if the ten-year timeframe is not satisfied.
It’s important to have an experienced Orlando military divorce attorney guide you through the legal process. To learn more about your options and how we can help, please contact us for a free case review today.
Contact an Orlando Military Divorce Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Military divorce laws can be difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced Orlando military divorce lawyer to secure the best possible outcome for your family. If you or your spouse are in the military and considering divorce, our lawyers are prepared to help. Just call Conti Moore Law, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation today.