Military Divorce in Tampa, Florida

Photo depicting unhappy military coupleDivorce is always a complicated issue and difficult time for both parties involved. When one of those parties is active in the military, those issues become even more complicated.

Several unique issues are created in a military divorce as compared to a typical civilian divorce.


Protections for our servicemen and women from divorce proceedings:

Across the United States and in Florida, laws have been established to protect active duty military members from being divorced without their knowledge or from being held in default for failure to respond.

Florida divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time a service member is on active duty. Often times, this postponement is granted for up to an additional 60 days, typically in situations where the active duty member is serving overseas or in a war.

Active duty service members do have a right to waive the postponement of the divorce proceedings if they wish to proceed sooner and divorce is desired.

These protections are granted to our servicemen and women through the discretion of local Florida courts, as well as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS Section 521.

Serving an active military spouse with divorce papers:

In order for a Florida court to have jurisdiction over the active duty military member, a summons and copy of the divorce action must both be personally served upon the active duty spouse.

If an active duty spouse signs and files a waiver acknowledging the divorce action, the case is considered uncontested and the active duty spouse may not have to be served.

Grounds, Residency & Requirements for Military Divorce in Florida:

The grounds for military divorce and civilian divorce in Florida are identical.

The only requirements for a military divorce in Florida are that:

  • You or your spouse must be a resident of Florida
  • You or your spouse must be stationed in Florida

Property Division:

Military retirement benefits, their calculation, and how they are divided upon divorce are governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) which was enacted by the federal government.

Quick Links - Retirement Calculators:

Each retirement calculator estimates retired pay during retirement years. You can personalize the inputs to reflect your expectations about your retirement and economic conditions.

U.S. Department of Defense Military Compensation Comparison Chart
Official Military Pay Calculators from

USFSPA is the entity that authorizes direct payments or portions of military retirees' pay to former spouses. Florida property division laws also apply. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), 10 U.S.C. 1408, accomplishes two things:

  • It recognizes the right of state courts to distribute military retired pay to a spouse or former spouse (hereafter, the former spouse), and
  • It provides a method of enforcing these orders through the Department of Defense.

The retirement of military members is not divided nor distributed to any spouse unless the couple has been married for 10 years or longer during the time a service member has been on active duty.

Court orders enforceable under the USFSPA include final decrees of divorce, dissolution, annulment, and legal separation, and court-ordered property settlements incident to such decrees. The pertinent court order must provide for the payment of child support, alimony, or retired pay as property, to a former spouse.

Spousal Support and Child Support:

To determine the correct amount of child support to be awarded in Florida military divorces, normal child support guidelines, worksheets and schedules are used.

Both child support as well as spousal support and alimony must not exceed 60% of a military member's pay and allowances in Florida.

The attorneys at Fernandez Law Group always represent the best interests of our clients and if you have any questions about military divorce or are facing a military divorce in Florida, we suggest you

Call or Text us today at 813-489-3222 for a FREE consultation and case evaluation.

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Google+ Content authored by Frank Fernandez