Married Florida couples may find that going through a divorce while in the military can add a level of complexity to the process. While the actual procedural process is the same for military and non-military couples, there are some additional factors that could have an impact on the divorce for those with a spouse in the military.
In addition to the fact that the divorce process can take longer if a spouse is on active duty or stationed outside of the country, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act also permits states to classify retired pay as property and not necessarily income. An ex-spouse may not have access to direct retirement payments unless the couple was married for 10 years with an overlapping 10 years of service. An ex-spouse may still receive his or her portion of the payment even if he or she does not qualify for direct payments.
There are three different methods that may be used to determine what percentage of the pension an ex-spouse may be entitled to. These methods include the net present value, deferred distribution and reserve jurisdiction. Reserve jurisdiction, which is calculated at retirement, is often the most common method. On the other hand, net present value allows one ex-spouse to buy out the other while deferred distribution calculates the share amount at the time of separation but defers the payments until retirement.
Many individuals in the military designate Florida as their home state while they are on active duty, regardless of whether or not they intend to stay when they retire. Because of this, going through a military divorce can be more complex than a regular divorce. A family law attorney may help a service member understand the process while working to resolve any potential issues that could occur as property is being divided.