To obtain a divorce in Florida one of the parties, either the husband or wife, must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition. Florida residence is usually established with a current Florida driver license issued 6 months before the case is filed. Otherwise, the court will accept a valid Florida identification card, some other government issued identification or an affidavit of a witness who can corroborate the party’s Florida residence.
Florida as actual residence or home state
What happens when a married Navy man is from Florida but stationed in Hawaii? Or when a sailor from Kansas has been stationed for the last year in Jacksonville or Key West but recently deployed to Iraq? Florida law makes provision for these kinds of situations. In the case of an active military member, he/she can meet Florida’s 6 month residence requirement for purposes of the court’s divorce jurisdiction if he/she: (1) has actually resided in Florida for the last 6 months, regardless of where his/her home state is, even if deployed, or (2) establishes Florida as his/her home state with the intent to return to Florida after discharge, even if stationed outside of Florida or deployed.
So long as the residency requirement is met, an active U.S. military service member can obtain a Florida divorce. Of course, the residence requirement need only be established for one of the spouses.
Generally speaking, military divorce in Florida is the same as a divorce involving civilians. If children are involved, a Parenting Plan is required, child support calculated, marital property and debt divided, alimony considered and any other issue related to the divorce.
Dividing military pensions
Special rules apply to dividing military pensions. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), 10 U.S.C. 1408, recognizes the right of state courts to distribute military retired pay to a spouse or former spouse and provides a method of enforcing these orders through the Department of Defense. The USFSPA itself does not provide for an automatic entitlement to a portion of the member’s retired pay to a former spouse. A former spouse must have been awarded a portion of a member’s military retired pay as property in their final decree of divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation (the court order). The USFSPA also provides a method of enforcing current child support and/or arrears and current alimony awarded in the court order. In Florida, both child support and spousal support/alimony awards may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The normal Florida child support guidelines, worksheets and schedules are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid.
Military protection from Florida divorce proceedings
There are laws set up to protect active duty military members against being held in “default” from failing to respond to a divorce action. These laws were enacted to protect active military from being divorced without knowing it.
Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and in the discretion of the local Florida court, the divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire time the active service member is on duty and for up to 60 days thereafter (This is typically the case when the active member is serving in a war). Also, this right to have the divorce proceedings postponed can be waived by any active duty member should he or she wish to get the divorce.
Online Florida divorce for active military personnel
DivorceYes.com offers a great Florida online divorce option for Florida military personnel. Uncontested Florida military divorce can be finalized in 30 days from the date of filing, even if you are stationed outside of Florida or deployed. DivorceYes.com is a Florida law firm offering low cost divorce and family law discrete task representation throughout Florida in both contested and uncontested cases. Miller Law Associates is an experienced Florida divorce law firm and is proud to serve our servicemen and women.