Military Divorce

Florida Military Divorce and Pension Valuation Attorney

North Miami Beach military divorce lawyer Michael Lechtman has over 39 years of experience handling the complex issues specific to military family law. As a former First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Mr. Lechtman knows first-hand how dissolution can threaten the military pensions of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or Coast Guard personnel. He is dedicated to helping soldiers, sailors, pilots, marines, and their respective spouses resolve their divorce and child custody issues, providing experienced service to military families throughout Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, and South Florida servicemembers stationed throughout the world.

Military Divorce Issues

Military divorce poses several unique issues in addition to those facing civilians. Constant travel and relocation frequently present challenges over which family courts have the power to preside. In order to prove jurisdiction in Florida, military personnel must establish permanent residency, and spouses must be residents for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce. Other legal issues specific to military divorce often involve:

  • Service of process abroad
  • Default judgment while on active duty
  • Flexible child custody and time sharing
    • Serviceman’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) delays divorce, property division, child or spousal support, and modification or enforcement of prior orders while service member deployed
  • Valuation and distribution of military pension
    • Survivor benefits
    • Medical, health benefits
    • Commissary, PX privileges
    • Disposable military retired pay

These unique issues are made more complicated by the intersection of federal and state laws governing the division of marital property and child or spousal support. Service of process, for example, must comply with the SCRA and Hague Convention to avoid a default judgment. Florida statutes likewise require that military parents follow strict rules to protect their custody and time-sharing rights prior to deployment.

Child Custody and Spousal Support

Section 61.13002 of the Florida Statutes requires active service members to designate a person to exercise their child custody rights if deployed for more than 90 days. The assigned family member must be disclosed in writing to the civilian or military parent at least 10 days before the next time-sharing date. The plan should balance the military service member’s need to have frequent, meaningful contact with the child and the financial drain of frequent travel. Florida law also limits awards of alimony and child support to 60% of the military member’s pay.

Military Pension

The division of military compensation and pensions upon a divorce is a serious concern to most service members. Under Florida and federal law, division of military pay and pension may involve:

  • Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance
    • Federal law does not require naming civilian spouse or children as beneficiary
  • Uniform Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act
    • Governs calculation and award of retirement benefits upon divorce
    • Conditioned upon at least 10 years of marriage to active duty member
    • Medical benefits based on years of marriage during “creditable” military service
  • Proper characterization of military income for support
    • Signing bonuses, hazard duty pay
    • Overseas, foreign language, jump pay
  • Exclusion of non-marital promotion pay and longevity enhancements
  • Waiver of retirement for veteran’s tax-free pension due to service-related disability

The equitable distribution of military pay is replete with legal nuances and traps for the unwary. Military members and spouses should retain an experienced attorney to protect their rights.

Military Divorce Relief

If you have a pending divorce and are serving in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, or any reserve, contact South Florida military divorce attorney Michael Lechtman for help. He has a profound knowledge of the federal and state laws governing child custody and property division rights, especially those involving active deployment and pension valuation. Mr. Lechtman has successfully arranged marital settlement and time-sharing agreements for South Florida residents and military families locally and around the world. At the law office of Michael Lechtman, we are dedicated to helping you protect the future you deserve. Call (305) 652-9500 today for a free consultation or contact us online.

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