Military Divorce - Active Duty or Retired

We are located near Corry Station and NAS Pensacola.  As a result, for 30 years we have handled problems that are unique to active duty and retired military service members.

We are able to handle most issues where Florida has jurisdiction, which may include Initial Divorce proceedings, Spousal Support, Child Support, Modification, Visitation or Custody issues Contempt, E-mail or Teleconferencing.  In cases of deployment, regarding court appearances,  many occasions relevant to these issues (pursuant to the other sides agreement when necessary), you can testify by telephone and never have to physically be in Florida for the proceeding.

Set forth below are a few of the issues that you may question regarding, whether you are active duty, retired or the spouse of active duty or retire military.

Child Support

In calculating Child Support, in addition to your regular or retirement pay, the following pay is included:
 1. Housing Allowance
 2. Sea or Flight Pay
 3. Retirement Pay
 4.  Social Security
 5.  V.  A.  Benefits (Yes, despite what others have told you, VA pay is included in child support calculations.  Some of you will argue this point.  Make an appointment and I will show you why it is included).
 
You will still be governed by the child support requirements under the general Divorce/Child Support for the state of Florida.  FYI:  Based on the child support formula, it is almost always cheaper, if possible, to use day care. 

A major problem which can affect both the payor and recipient of child support is when the support should begin.  If you are involved in the initial Divorce proceeding the payor’s obligation begins, at the minimum, when the divorce is filed and/or you no longer live together with the child/children.  The separation date may predate the filing of the divorce petition.  You need an attorney’s advice to ascertain your obligation.  If you wait until the final hearing, you may have to pay ongoing child support plus a court ordered amount each month to satisfy an arrearage plus interest.

If you are active duty military, the JAG manual (navy page) will specify what you must pay to continue to  support your family until further court order.  A temporary hearing could reduce the amount of child support that you have been direct to may pay military orders or rules.  

If you are the spouse of an active duty military member, reservist or retiree, see Spouse/Military or call for an appointment regarding the questions you may have.

Retirement

Alimony/Spousal Support

In Florida, military retirement funds are an asset which is treated differently than other income related to Alimony/Spousal Support.  The spouse of retired military personnel receives a pro rata share of the retirement funds.  If the spouse remarries, the awarded share is still paid.  If the military retiree dies, and an SBP is elected, it is still paid.  You must make sure your lawyer uses the correct formula in order to establish the amount owed.  DFAS has particular guidelines that must be met in order to accomplish the correct payment of spousal support.  

The correct  computation of military retirement percentage is critical because one of the mistakes, made most often by lawyers, is the failure to exclude member entitlements that are not available to be used in the computation of the awarded share .  A spouse is entitled to a share of pay increases you earn due to your efforts i.e. promotion or other advancement pre divorce put not afterward . If the correct language is not used the spouse could receive a percentage of what you earn that is a result of your post divorce advancements or increases. The proceeding statement will not be important if you a very near retirement or are in a “pay status”.  If you go up in rank from an enlisted to an officer is could result in thousands over the course of your  retirement.

Defenses to Retirement Allocation

There are some defenses to retirement allocation that are basically jurisdictional in nature.  If the service person has been served overseas (by mail) and the spouse or spouse’s attorney has not complied with the Hague Convention guidelines or if the Florida long arm is not pled.

More information on Military Divorce: