All people who are going through dissolution of marriage proceedings in the state of Florida have hurdles to cross. However, individuals who are serving in our nation’s armed armed forces have to address some challenges that are, for the most part, specific to the ways of military service.
There are two primary factors that play a significant role in military divorce proceedings. One of them involves the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003. One of the provision of this act states that members of the armed forces do not have to address civil actions until they have been discharged. A Dissolution of Marriage Petition would be one of these civil actions.
Before the passing of this act there were members of the military who would come home after serving a tour of duty overseas to find that they had been “divorced” without every having heard about it. Military personnel have this protection in place, but by the same token it can prevent someone from going forward with a divorce until his or her spouse is no longer on active duty.
The act was passed to protect people who are fighting in war zones. So if you have been in the service for 30 years and have lived in Tampa for 20 uninterrupted years the court may not preclude you from responding to a divorce petition based on this federal act.
The other issue that military service personnel face that can make divorce and family law issues challenging is the transient nature of military service. According to Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes either the petitioner or the respondent must have resided in the state for at least six months to meet the residency requirement to file a dissolution of marriage petition. This can impact members of the armed forces who are stationed in Florida for a limited amount of time. Frequent transfers and deployments can also impact family law matters such as child custody, support, and visitation.
If you need legal advice about military divorce and related family issues involving the military, get in touch with an experienced Tampa FL family attorney to arrange for a free consultation.