Divorce & Active Duty
Military families face a lot of different challenges that civilians can avoid, and this remains true in the event of a divorce. If you and your spouse decide to divorce, and one or both of you are in the military, it can be a unique test to ensure that both you and your spouse are able to work out a fair agreement.
Proceedings Can Be Delayed
When a military couple files for divorce, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) requires that they complete an affidavit asserting that they are members of the military, so that they can receive the benefits and courtesies that the SCRA gives to them. Most notably, the SCRA allows all civil proceedings (which includes divorce or custody hearings) to be delayed while a military service member is deployed or on active duty. Many different financial obligations may also be delayed or held in abeyance while someone is on active duty.
This can understandably be frustrating for a non-military spouse or a spouse not on active duty, as very often they simply want to proceed with the divorce. However, under the usual rules observed in civil proceedings, a respondent must answer a complaint within a set period of time (usually 30 days). If a military member is on active duty or otherwise unable to respond, they would then get a default judgment entered against them through no fault of their own, which could deny them their part of marital assets or even cost them parenting time – something that in nearly every case would be fundamentally unjust.
Another common issue that may come up with military families and divorce is in the realm of child custody – more specifically, parenting time when a military service member is given new orders. Florida law on relocating with your children after a divorce is somewhat complex, especially since unlike most civilians, military parents are often operating on a tight timeframe. It can often be a matter of weeks between being issued a new Permanent Change in Station (PCS) and being expected to report.
A parent relocating more than 50 miles away must first inform the other parent of their intentions, and if the other parent does not consent, then both must attend a court hearing on the matter. The relocation parent must establish that the move will be in the best interests of the child, which is not necessarily easy to accomplish. The best interests of the child will always be paramount in the thinking of the court, as that is one of the top priorities in Florida public policy.
Call A Hollywood Military Divorce Attorney
Divorce is always a potentially life-changing event, and if one or both spouses are in the military, it can become even more difficult. The Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. handles many Hollywood military divorce cases, with Attorney Mason providing an experienced and knowledgeable perspective that our office is happy to put to work for you. Contact us today to set up a consultation.