Unique Issues In Florida Military Divorce
Divorce between military servicemembers is just as common as divorce between civilians. However, there are certain aspects that have to be handled in a unique way when one or both spouses is a military servicemember. If you are intent on divorce, but your spouse is a member of the armed forces, hiring a knowledgeable military divorce attorney can help to ensure that all potential issues are handled appropriately.
Potential Jurisdiction Choices
The first difference from a civilian divorce has to do with jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is a legal concept that governs whether or not a certain court can hear a certain case. Normally, divorces are heard in the district where one or both spouses reside, but with a military family, jurisdiction is often more difficult to pin down – does it exist where one spouse is deployed? What about where the family has their legal domicile? Somewhere in between?
Jurisdiction exists in military divorce cases in three places: (1) in the district where the family’s legal domicile (official legal residence) is; (2) in the state where the family currently resides; or (3) in any district or state where both spouses consent to jurisdiction. If a military servicemember or their spouse decides to file for divorce in Florida, at least one of them must also reside in the state for at least 6 months before filing suit.
Child Custody Issues
The other major issue that one sees often in military divorce is concerning child custody. Obviously, if one or both parents are available and fit, custody will manifest in the parents, usually with both sharing joint physical and legal custody unless some factor makes this impossible. Florida law requires that custody determinations be made according to the best interests of the child or children involved, and courts will deliberate while taking into account a host of different factors.
It is important to keep in mind that past or future deployments cannot, by law, be held against a parent in military service for the purpose of determining custody. Usually, if the servicemember parent is considered fit to share custody, the court will recommend (or sometimes assist) in creating a parenting plan which either allows the presence of a temporary guardian in times of deployment, or allows the other parent to have custody more often in exchange for a reduction in child support. Every case is different, and discussing these matters with an attorney can help clarify what is best for yours.
Contact A Hollywood Military Divorce Attorney
Getting divorced while worrying about deployment can be a difficult time trying to juggle countless issues at once. If you are in this situation, contacting a Hollywood military divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can help to get any questions you may have answered. Contact our offices today via our website or on the phone at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.