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Uncontested Divorce
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Jacksonville Divorce and Family Law Lawyers

Military Divorce

Divorce can be overwhelming, but when you or your spouse is a member of, or retired from the military, you face issues that are not found in non-military divorces. You need an attorney who fully understands these military issues, including the components of military pay and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). As a retired Naval Aviator with 24 years, Bill Lally understands what you are going through and has the knowledge to guide you through your divorce while protecting your interests and your future.

In a military divorce the most valuable marital asset may be the military pension of one spouse. Federal law authorizes individual states to treat military pensions as marital assets and to divide them under state law. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) also allows some former spouses to retain commissary and exchange privileges, military health care, and designation as a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) beneficiary.

The “10 Year Rule” is one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts in a military divorce. A party will often come into our office with the belief that he or she must have been married to the service member for at least ten years before they are entitled to a share of the military pension. This is not true. In reality, the “Ten Year Rule” has nothing to do with whether or not a spouse is entitled to a portion of the pension or how much he or she may be entitled to. Under Florida law, a spouse does not need to have been married to the service member for ten years to be entitled to a portion of the retired pay. What the “10 Year Rule” does provide for is the method by which the former spouse will receive his or her share. Under certain circumstances, the former spouse can receive his or her share directly from the service member’s retired pay, while in other cases the share must be paid to the former spouse by the service member.

Another trap for the inexperienced may be the benefits provided by the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). SBP is an annuity that allows retired service members to provide continued income to a named beneficiary in the event of the retiree’s death. When a married service member retires, he or she is automatically enrolled in the SBP with the spouse as a beneficiary unless affirmative action is taken to modify SBP. Even if your final judgment requires the service member to provide SBP coverage, you still need to make a “deemed election” request and there are specific deadlines for doing so. In addition, many unwary spouses have permanently signed away their rights to SBP without understanding the full consequences or even realizing what they were signing. Without the help of an attorney experienced in military issues, you may lose the protection provided by the SBP forever.

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Address: 6160 Arlington Expressway Jacksonville, FL 32211-7142
Phone: (904) 724-4420 Facsimile: (904) 724-4421