Questions To Ask During A Military Divorce
Getting a divorce while one is in the military, or from a military member, is markedly different than getting a divorce while both parties are civilians. There are issues that simply do not come up in civilian divorces because there is no functional equivalent to certain rules. Regardless, it is important to educate yourself on the nature of exactly how a military divorce occurs before you go through it, lest you wind up on the wrong end of issues like asset division and child custody.
Are There Procedural Differences?
One important question to ask is whether there are different procedures to follow due to military regulations. A major issue that can sometimes derail a filing is the question of jurisdiction. When a court has jurisdiction over someone, that court has the power to make judgments and decisions that directly affect that person. This is usually determined by residence or contact with the geographic area – for example, someone who lives in Miami would not be subject to the jurisdiction of a New York City court unless they had extensive contacts with the area.
If you decide to file for divorce, but do not file in the appropriate court, or file in a state that is not your or your family’s legal residence, your suit may be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Alternatively, the jurisdiction you choose may not have the authority to divide assets like military pensions – the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) authorizes the division, but only in a court which has the appropriate jurisdiction. Thus, it is critical to ensure that the court you file in is the right one.
Can I Retain Certain Benefits?
Many of the questions that the civilian spouse in particular may ask during a divorce from a military servicemember will have to do with what they are able to retain, both for themselves and for any children of the marriage. For example, health care coverage under Tricare is a common issue – like most health insurance plans, any children of the marriage will be covered until they reach the age of majority, but the former spouse may not be. They must meet certain criteria and remain unmarried – remarriage means loss of Tricare benefits since their new spouse will ostensibly be able to sponsor them on their own insurance plan.
Another common question is whether or not a divorced spouse can retain the marital home. This question will depend more on state law than on military provisions; Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that all marital assets are distributed between the spouses in the most equitable way (equitable means fair or appropriate), rather than in states like California or Nevada where everything is divided 50-50. However, Florida state law may not apply if your military spouse is officially domiciled in another state. Verifying information like this is imperative.
Call An Experienced Attorney To Help
Getting a divorce is difficult at the best of times; having to contend with military regulations that may not be familiar to you can make it even more difficult. Having an experienced military divorce attorney on your side can smooth things out and make the process less intimidating. The dedicated Hollywood military divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. are happy to try and assist you. Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.