A military divorce in the State of Florida brings into place a number of different distinct and unique issues as compared to the typical Florida divorce between two civilians. One of the issues becomes the interplay between the Federal laws and Florida laws and the Family Law rules. In general terms, regardless of whether one or both spouses are in the military – the grounds for obtaining a divorce remain the same; that the “marriage is irretrievably broken” (Florida Statute § 61.052); and that at least one of the spouses resided in or was stationed in Florida for a minimum of six months prior to the date that a Petition for Divorce was filed (Florida Statute § 61.021).
Clearly, there are a number of laws which have been enacted in order to protect those military members who are on active duty against a default judgment being entered against them due to their failure to file a responsive pleading to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The entry of a default against you may mean that you are divorced without knowing it or even have a chance to defend against their spouses’ divorce petition. That is why these laws were enacted, in order to protect an active duty member of the military.
It is extremely important to have a family law attorney with the experience of New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. to help protect your rights regardless of whether it is you or your spouse who is in the military or on active duty.
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA), 50 U.S.C. App. § 501 et seq., was passed by Congress near the onset of World War II to provide protection to armed forces members. In 2003, there were significant changes to this Act which in part provides for judicial proceeding to be temporarily suspended. The service members who are included under this act include members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard who are on active duty; and members of the National Guard and Reserves who are called to active duty.
Pursuant to the SSCRA, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will help you obtain a postponement of your divorce proceedings for the entire time that you are on active service; as well as for up to an additional 60 days if you are actively serving in during a war.
At New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. takes the position that postponing your divorce case can have a positive impact on the results of your divorce case. This postponement allows the service member to fully and completely participate in the divorce process. It also allows New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. to fully explore all issues from your marriage, as well as locate more evidence and testimony that will assist in you obtaining a fair trial. In addition, it helps you as the service member avoid constantly requesting leave from your operational duties to appear in court.
In addition, there are also some issues specific to active duty service members with respect to the division of marital property under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) as well as temporary time sharing and child support (Florida Statute § 61. 13002 which New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will address in our next blog.