Getting divorced is always a stressful and difficult process, but it can be even more so for military veterans or their spouses. Those who serve in the military are often away from home for extended amounts of time. Filing a petition for divorce yourself or receiving a petition for divorce can be devastating and tough to handle alone. That’s why it’s a good idea to look into military divorce services in Tampa from knowledgeable lawyers. If you’re looking at an upcoming military divorce in Tampa, read on for more information.
Military Divorces in Tampa
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. That means you or your spouse can file a petition for divorce without needing to prove fault on behalf of the other party in the marriage.
Therefore, military divorces in Tampa may occur at any time and for any reason, as long as the petitioning spouse feels the marriage is irretrievably broken. Military veterans may receive divorce petitions when they are deployed, including when they are out of the country or on military operations.
If you’ve been served divorce papers and are deployed, you need to know who to contact to respond promptly and to begin preparing yourself for the next steps. In some cases, your divorce may proceed without you being physically present in Florida, so it helps to have knowledgeable lawyers on your side.
Special Consideration for Military Divorces
Military divorces concern many of the same factors in matters as civilian divorces, including:
- How property will be divided
- Whether alimony will be awarded and how much alimony a spouse receives
- How child support is divided and awarded
- How childcare is decided
- And more
However, military divorces in Tampa and throughout Florida also have several special considerations. By hiring military divorce lawyers, you can understand these considerations and emerge in a strong position on the other side of your divorce proceedings.
Dividing Military Retirement Pay
According to state law and military retirement rules, ex-spouses of divorced veterans may be entitled to a portion of the veterans’ retirement pay. Here are some examples:
- In Florida, the marital interest in a military retirement is 50% of the retirement that was earned during the marriage, usually calculated by months of marriage during service divided by the total months of service.
- According to the 10/10 rule, if a person is married to a military member for at least 10 years and the veteran served in the military for at least 10 years during the marriage, the ex-spouse is entitled to be paid their portion of the veteran’s retirement pay directly by the Defense Finance Accounting Service
- According to the 20/20/15 rule, if a marriage lasts for 20 years, 15 of which were during a veteran’s military service, and the veteran is in the military for 20 years, the ex-spouse of the veteran may be entitled to one year of healthcare following the divorce
- According to the 20/20/20 rule, if all the above criteria are met, and the marriage lasted for 20 years during the veteran’s Armed Forces service, the veteran’s ex-spouse may be independently entitled to full healthcare, commissary, and exchange benefits
In each situation, retirement pay is not the same as alimony. Therefore, divorced spouses of veterans may receive both alimony and retirement pay. Military divorce lawyers like Hunter Law can help to minimize how much money a veteran has to pay to a divorcing spouse.
Survivor Benefits Plan Decisions
The Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) gives designated survivors an annuity based on retirement pay. When a veteran retires from military service, they may choose to enroll in the SBP. It is a choice at the time of retirement with which the spouse must acknowledge.
In the aftermath of a divorce, the former spouse or member has one year from the date of the divorce to apply for coverage under the SBP as a former spouse but this entitlement must be included in the Final Judgment. Military divorce lawyers can help you navigate this process and ensure you get the benefits you need.
Child Support Payments
Members of the military must pay child support even if they are deployed. If there is not yet a formal child support order, deployed military members have to pay interim child support calculated using their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and/or gross pay. Each service has their own formula for calculating what must be provided.
A knowledgeable military divorce lawyer can help you understand this process and determine whether you’ll pay more after a child support order or before.
Why Hire Tampa Military Divorce Lawyers
Overall, it’s an excellent idea to contact knowledgeable Tampa military divorce lawyers at the earliest opportunity. They can provide a wide range of assistance depending on the specifics of your case.
Throughout your divorce proceedings, military divorce lawyers can offer sound legal counsel. They can break down your available options, tell you what your responsibilities are to the court if you are deployed, or explain the benefits and other financial compensation you may receive if you are a veteran’s spouse.
All of this can be invaluable to ensure you make the best decisions possible.
If you are deployed or otherwise unable to gather evidence to support your side in a divorce case, Tampa military divorce lawyers can gather it for you. They can also prepare and present the evidence effectively in court.
Divorce cases are often fraught with difficult emotions and stressful discussions. Your lawyers can negotiate on your behalf with your spouse, their lawyers, or the court, which can prevent complications or negative impacts on your case.
If you are deployed, your lawyers can represent you in court. Your military divorce lawyers can also represent you in court at any other time.
Contact Hunter Law Today About Military Divorce Services in Tampa
At Hunter Law, we’re well-equipped and ready to assist with your military divorce case no matter which side of the matter you’re on. We can represent you if you are a military veteran or the soon-to-be ex-spouse of a veteran.
With our extensive experience in Tampa military divorce cases, we can help you gather evidence, negotiate for you with the other party, and ensure that you exit the divorce proceedings in the best position possible. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation.