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Tailored Divorce Guidance For Florida Military Members, Retired Servicemembers And Their Spouses

Military divorces are subject to the same legal issues as civilian divorces, with a few exceptions. At Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux P.A., our team of experienced attorneys understand the steps required to have a successful and smooth divorce when one spouse is an active or a retired service member. We handle divorce matters for service members and spouses in Jacksonville, Clay County, Nassau County, St. Johns County, and throughout northern Florida.

Divorce Issues That Are Military-Specific

Military members on active duty serving outside of the state will have to prove one party in the marriage has had a six-month residency in Florida in order to meet jurisdictional requirements. Those members serving overseas but who were residents of Florida before deployment will likely meet Florida residency requirements.

Active-duty military members may request a “stay,” which is a temporary hold on the divorce proceedings pursuant to the Service Members’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA is a federal law and is applicable in Florida.  The SCRA allows for a postponement of a minimum of 90 days, if needed.  If there is good cause shown, you can apply for another stay prior to the expiration of the 90 days.  Florida enacted its own statute, Florida Statute §250.5201, which widens the SCRA’s protections to governor-ordered National Guard active-duty service that exceeds 17 days. Pursuant to Florida Statute §250.5201, the Court may grant on its own motion a stay of the proceedings, or it may grant a stay of the proceedings upon a motion made by either party unless, in the opinion of the Court, the ability to prosecute or defend the action is not materially affected by reason of the movant’s state active duty.

If the military member never resided in Florida, it may be more difficult. The state does not have jurisdiction over a person who is not a resident. Issues such as property division, spousal support and child custody/timesharing can be complex, and may require the support of an attorney familiar with military protocol as well as Florida state divorce and family law.

Enlisting the representation of an attorney for these complex matters is strongly advised. Overseas members in a contested divorce can complicate the service of process. This is rare but is possible when one spouse is serving outside the country.

Division Of Property Issues In A Military Divorce

Another aspect of property division during a military divorce is the dividing of financial assets. This may include the division of a military pension for couples who have been married for more than 10 years and have more than 10 years of military service. Other benefits fall under the 20/20/20 rule of 20 years of overlap between the marriage and years of creditable military service.

Retirement assets may also require a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Not all family law or divorce attorneys are able to prepare these technical documents. Thrift savings plans and survivor benefit plans are two other considerations.

Work With A Team Dedicated To The Divorce Needs Of Military Members And Spouses

At Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux P.A., we understand how difficult any divorce is. We also understand the unique circumstances a military divorce involves. We are here to help. During our consultations, you can explain your situation, and we can tell you how we can help. We serve Florida National Guard members and those affiliated with the Naval Air Station, NAS JAX Base and Jacksonville MEPS, and spouses. Call 904-717-7747 or reach us via our website contact form.