The stress caused by the unique contributions of military families often takes a toll on the marriage.
A military divorce has distinct issues that implicate both state and federal law. In addition to understanding family law, a military divorce attorney must be familiar with the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act.
You need to find a military divorce attorney that understands both. And, you want to ensure that your rights are protected. If your spouse is used to giving orders or afflicted with a bad case of entitlement syndrome, you need an attorney who is not afraid to stand up for you.
Unique Issues in a Military Divorce
From the inception of the case, a military divorce presents a number of complex issues. Many military divorces involve complex jurisdictional issues. A court must have subject matter jurisdiction over the family law case, which is usually established by the one of the parties being a "legal resident" of the state, even if they are not physically present in the state. And, even if the servicemember calls Florida home, and Florida can grant a divorce, that does not necessarily mean that Florida has jurisdiction to decide the financial issues between the parties. Moreover, child custody jurisdiction is governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which focuses on where the "home state" of the children (i.e., where they physically reside), rather than the state that may be considered the "legal residence" of one or both parents. Once you decide where to file your case, military servicemembers are protected by a number of laws regarding service of process.
In military divorce cases, child custody is frequently a hotly contested issue. Many times, a military servicemember is the more appropriate parent for the child, but the servicemember's professional duties and obligations conflict with the demands of being a full-time parent. In certain cases, the servicemember faces a relocation case when the military issues orders for a new assignment or permanent change of station. A servicemember's permanent change of station may also create a relocation dispute if the servicemember's spouse has children from a previous marriage or relationship.
A military divorce also presents a number of unique financial issues. In many cases, courts and attorneys make mistakes when calculating a servicemember's income and support obligation. Courts and practitioners frequently fail to include allowances or treat the allowances as taxable income. There is also confusion regarding how to deal with temporary pay, per diem allowances, enlistment bonuses, and other unusual pay events.
Military spouses frequently demand alimony on a temporary and long-term basis due to the negative impact that a military can have on a spouse's career. Military divorce cases are also unique because military regulations require servicemembers to provide financial support to their families. In some cases, this is true even when the spouse is not in need of support.
In addition to their pay, Military servicemembers and their families receive a number of valuable benefits that may or may not be subject to distribution in a divorce case. There are also a number of issues concerning the family's right to continue receiving health care benefits and dividing military pensions. If your attorney does not understand legal issues commonly implicated in a military divorce, such as issues concerning Servicemember's Group Life Insurance ("SGLI"), disability pay, the Survivor Benefit Plan ("SBP"), and the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill, then your rights and strategy may be compromised.
Our Experience Makes a Difference
Attorney Scott P. Davis grew up in a military family. He respects those who serve our country, and he understands the strain that military service can place on the family. As a child, Scott experienced the impact of a military divorce first-hand.
Our Firm will treat you and your family with the respect and dignity you deserve while ensuring that your interests are protected.
Use Our Experience to Your Advantage
We have substantial experience representing military service members and their spouses in military divorce cases and other family law matters involving men and women in uniform. You should use our experience to your advantage. If you are looking to hire a military divorce attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us. Going with an attorney that lacks military divorce experience could cost you thousands in billable hours for them to try and learn the issues. Or, more likely, your attorney does not get up to speed and your rights are compromised.
If you already have a competent military divorce attorney, please consider using our military divorce mediation services. We understand the issues that military families face in and out of court. We understand the need to resolve these issues cost effectively. You could benefit from a mediator who is familiar with military divorce, military pay and allowances, division of retirement pay, and custody issues.
Please continue reading to learn more about us. If you or someone you care about is facing a military divorce or family law case, we can help. Please do not hesitate to call us today at (813) 251-6222 or contact us online.