Tampa Military Divorce Lawyer
Serving in the armed forces is a job like no other. Yet those who serve are not immune to family strife. In fact, constant moving and lengthy deployments often place even more strain on a marriage relationship. That’s especially true if one spouse comes from a non-military background. Sometimes, it’s just too much. When divorce happens in these contexts, many issue arise which makes these proceedimgs quite different from civilian divorces.
Only a handful of Florida attorneys are comfortable with these differences. The Tampa military divorce lawyers at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group belong to this select group. We have a considerable amount of experience in these cases. So, we are familiar with the complexities they present. Perhaps more importantly, we are familiar with military families. That compassion sets us apart from some other attorneys who only have experience.
Service and Residency Requirements
Because of the aforementioned deployments, many times, one spouse is completely unavailable when the other spouse files for divorce. Even if the deployed spouse knows about the proceeding, and that is a big “if,” there is very little that the deployed spouse can do in response.
So, the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act essentially places divorce proceedings on hold until both spouses can equally participate in the process. This law may apply to other civil lawsuits as well, such as credit card collections actions or personal injury claims.
Furthermore, due to the aforementioned relocations, neither spouse may meet Florida’s residency requirements. If the judge refuses to let the case go forward, orders may come down at any time. Then, the family faces the same issue in a different state.
By the time one spouse files for divorce, most families are simply ready to move on. They may even agree about child custody, spousal support, and other key issues. Most Florida judges understand these dynamics. So, they are willing to waive the residency requirement in military divorce cases.
Military Benefits and Pensions
The military life has many hardships, but it also has many emotional and financial benefits. For example, servicemembers and their families may often shop at the PX and other subsidized locations. Moreover, military families often have access to low-cost health insurance.
Generally, these benefits continue after divorce if the military spouse had at least 20 years of service and the marriage lasted at least 20 years. That’s a significant departure from civilian employment-based benefits. Usually, such benefits terminate with divorce, and that includes group health benefits.
Military retirement divisions work a little differently as well. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) generally adheres to the 10/10/50 rule. If the servicemember spouse had at least ten years of service and the marriage lasted at least ten years, the DFAS nearly always divides the amount accrued during the marriage on a 50/50 basis.
Division may also be possible if the service or marriage lasted less than 10 years. However, the DFAS will not divide the account. Such division is up to the parties.
Domestic Support Obligations
Military pay is not limited to dollars and cents. Many servicemembers receive housing allowances and other substantial non-cash compensation. Moreover, the PX and other benefits are normally part of the total compensation package.
Alimony and child support exist so that, to the greatest extent possible, the ex-spouses and their children will have the same standard of living they had before the divorce. Therefore, all this compensation must be accounted for when determining DSOs.
Contact Dedicated Tampa Military Divorce Lawyers Today
Military divorces require advocates who understand the unique legal, financial, and emotional implications of these cases. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Tampa, contact the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group. Home and after-hours visits are available.