Military divorce differs from civilian divorce in some key respects including the division of military benefits, calculating child support, child custody during deployment and other areas.

Many family law attorneys have not dealt with military divorce and are unfamiliar with both the process and the differences. As a 12-year combat veteran, former U.S. Army JAG Corp member and divorced person myself, I am well aware of the steps that a military divorce entails. I can anticipate obstacles and know how to prevent and circumvent issues regarding armed service rules. As the principal of Zachary A. VanDyke, P.A. in Panama City, I am here to help.

The Laws That Govern Military Divorce

There are both state and federal laws which apply to a Florida divorce for a member of the military. While there are certain considerations for a member of the military, a military divorce is a civilian issue that is resolved via mediation, collaborative law, settlement agreement or traditional litigation.

  • What is unique about a military divorce is the way the pension is divided, and this varies depending on the state of residence. Another factor that affects military divorce is when a spouse is on active duty. This can affect deadlines and timelines. A stay of 90 days or an extension can be requested.
  • Child custody (timesharing) and child support are also affected by a military member's duty status. Each branch of service has different rules regarding the amount of child support an active duty member is to pay. If the divorce goes to court, a judge will make the final ruling on support payments.
  • Former spouses are often eligible to receive continued health care through TRICARE or the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP).
  • A court can require that the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payments be made to the former spouse. An SBP is a death benefit that allows the former spouse to continue to collect the military pension after the military member's death.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law. It provides specific benefits to those who were married for at least 20 years to a member of the military. The member of the military must have been active for at least 20 years or have had retirement creditable service during that time. However, the state court has the power to grant the nonmilitary spouse whatever share of the military pension it deems equitable or fair.

Answers From An Attorney With Extensive Military Experience

You most likely have questions about what to expect in a military divorce. I offer a low cost initial consultation either over the phone or at the Panama City law office so that you can get your questions answered. Call 850-215-6445 or send me a connection email and I will be in touch with you. Se habla español.