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Panama City Military Divorce Attorney - Contact Us Today at (850) 972-2524

How is divorce different for Armed Forces personnel?

Service in the Armed Forces often causes significant disruption in the service member's civilian life, and in recognition of this fact the Congress has passed special laws to protect the rights of military personnel. One of the most important laws which affect a military divorce is the Service Members Civil Relief Act. Under normal circumstances when one spouse files a petition for divorce in Florida, the other spouse has only 20 days to file a response-otherwise, the court will most likely issue a default judgment and grant the terms of child custody, alimony, and property distribution which were requested in the original petition. The Service Members Civil Relief Act shields military personnel from the liability of a default judgment, both in divorce and in other civil lawsuits during the period of active duty service and for 60 days following the return from active duty.

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Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

Another law which may have a significant impact on the outcome of your divorce is the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. Under Florida law, all assets which have been acquired during the marriage are considered to be marital property and are consequently subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. The USFSPA makes it possible for up to half of a retired service member's military pension to be included in the marital estate, allowing the spouse to lay a claim on the value of the pension.

The Act also allows a spouse to continue receiving benefits such as commissary, exchange and medical care, provided that the marriage lasted at least 20 years and that the retired service member has performed 20 years of creditable service.

To learn more about your rights in the divorce and to take the first steps, contact Seaton Law Offices, P.A. at (850) 972-2524 for an initial consultation. Free consultations are offered for military EMT.

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