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Founded in 1997 we are experienced and knowledgeable Tampa attorneys practicing exclusively in Divorce, Family, Stepparent/Relative Adoption, Criminal Defense, and Personal Bankruptcy. We practice primarily in the cities of Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia, Carrollwood, Northdale, North Tampa, Plant City as well as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and Pasco County. We have offices conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay. Our lawyers have extensive experience practicing in contested and uncontested divorces, including military divorces, and family law, child support, child custody and visitation, relocation of children, alimony, domestic violence, distribution of assets and debts, retirement/pensions (military and private), enforcement and modification of final judgments, paternity actions, adoptions and name changes as well as criminal defense. We offer a free consultation to discuss your options. Please call us at 813-672-1900 or email us at info@familymaritallaw.com to schedule a consultation. Our representation of our clients reflects our dedication to them. We look forwarding to hearing from you! Se habla EspaƱol.
Showing posts with label military divorce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label military divorce. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Child Custody Concerns for Military Personnel Post-Divorce

Having and raising a family while being an active member of the military is no easy task. Being away from one’s children and spouse during the long periods of deployment is hard because this parent misses out on a lot of childhood milestones and daily life experiences. Deployment is known to put strains on marriages, and unfortunately, leads to divorce in many situations. Navigating child custody issues post-divorce is unavoidably complicated if disputes arise when the military parent is unable to directly deal with situation due to official duties. The restricted availability of military personnel for months and years at a time makes it easier for the non-military parent to deny or restrict access to the child, and has led to parental kidnapping in some cases. A recent decision by a federal district court in Florida that ordered a serviceman to return his son to his mother in Japan highlights the struggle of many military personnel with children born to foreign parents. Florida law recognizes that parents in the military have the same amount of desire to be involved their children’s lives, but need more flexibility in the exercise of time-sharing plans. An overview of the special considerations active military may need to address on child custody following divorce will follow below.
Changes to the Time-Sharing Schedule
A vulnerability all military parents on deployment face is the possibility that the other parent will seek to change the child custody order in his/her favor. Florida law has provisions that specifically address petitions seeking modification of parental responsibility and/or time-sharing while a parent is on active duty. The goal is to prevent the non-military parent from taking advantage of a deployment, and to that end, a court is not permitted to issue or modify a child custody order while a parent is on active duty that greatly impacts his/her ability to exercise his/her parenting time. The order in place at the time of deployment or assignment must remain in effect until the military order expires. However, a court may enter a temporary decision on time-sharing or parental responsibility if the best interests of the child justify it. The grounds for the temporary modification cannot rest solely on the disruption the deployment has on the child’s life. These temporary modifications automatically expire upon the parent’s return from active duty.
In addition, for parents deployed or assigned for more than 90 days, and consequently unable to exercise their parenting time, they can designate someone else to exercise parenting time. The designee must be a family member, stepparent or a relative of the child by marriage. The other parent can only object to the designation on the grounds that it is not in the best interests of the child.
Concurrent Custody
If a deployed or assigned military parent wants to take the designation of parenting time a step further, he/she can consent to concurrent custody with an immediate family member. This arrangement gives the family member the ability to make decisions related to the child in the parent’s absence. This option allows the deployed or assigned parent to have someone near and available to the child to represent the parent’s interests in important matters.
Get Legal Advice
If you or your spouse is in the military and seeking divorce, you need a divorce attorney experienced with the issues unique to this situation. Laws specific to the divorce of military personnel must be satisfied to ensure the terms of the divorce decree are valid and enforceable. The attorneys at the Tampa Bay law firm All Family Law Group, P.A. understand the rules that apply in military divorces, and will strive to give the best possible representation.  Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
by Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

Friday, July 10, 2015

Military Divorce In Florida

Divorcing a spouse who is on active duty in the military can present difficulties that would not otherwise be present in civilian divorce proceedings. Although the grounds for divorce are the same, several special issues of service of process, default, custody orders, support orders and property division are unique to a military marriage.

Florida’s Jurisdiction & Service of Process
To establish Florida’s jurisdiction over the military divorce, two preliminary matters must be met. First, one partner must reside or be stationed in Florida at the time of filing. Second, the active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and copy of the divorce. In an uncontested case, the active duty spouse can file an affidavit acknowledging the divorce action.
Protection From Default
In a civilian divorce, the respondent can find himself in a default judgment by failing to respond to a divorce action in a timely manner. For active duty spouses that are deployed at the time of filing, this presents a unique problem because they may not be able to respond in the time allotted by the court. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, Florida judges can postpone divorce proceedings until the service member returns from duty and up to 60 days after his or her return.
Pension and Benefit Division
Outside of Florida’s laws directing the division of marital property, the property of military couples is further regulated by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, which specifies how military benefits, including commissary, exchange, health care benefits, and the service member’s pension, can be distributed. It also provides for transitional health coverage and limited base privileges in certain cases.
This act specifically allows the state of divorce to treat military disposable retired pay as marital property and divisible in a divorce action. This act allows Florida courts to treat military retired pay as any other pension plan and subject to garnishments to satisfy other financial divorce obligations.
The Survivor Benefit Plan is also unique to military marriages. This program provides a monthly payment to a specified individual upon the service member’s death. The individual selected as the service member’s Survivor Benefit Recipient can be changed throughout the course of the spouse’s service. Whether or not a former spouse is to remain as the Survivor Benefit Recipient is important to enumerate in the marital settlement agreement.
Child Custody
Service members often have relocation concerns that other civilian couples do not. Permanent Change of Station Orders (PCS) dictate when and where service members are stationed for years at a time. In terms of child custody, this may require military spouses to adapt their parenting agreements to accommodate a long-distance time sharing schedule. Florida allows for temporary relocation requests and provides a final hearing on those issues within 90 days of filing, thus allowing the active duty service member to get a court’s ruling on custody issues before leaving on orders.
Support Orders
Military service members are paid a higher rate of compensation when they are deployed versus when they are stationed at home. These two rates of pay need to be considered when evaluating how often the active duty spouse is deployed. If the active spouse is deployed frequently, the court may raise alimony and child support amounts to take this higher pay rate into consideration.
How Do I Protect Myself & My Family in My Military Divorce?
The Tampa divorce attorneys at All Family Law Group, P.A. have the skills necessary to take you through your military divorce. Our office is knowledgeable in the area of military divorce and can help you throughout the process. Contact the Tampa family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+
- See more at: http://www.familymaritallaw.com/military-divorce-in-florida/#sthash.EonJe9w1.dpuf

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Divorce Process in a Nutshell

The length and what is involved in the divorce process depends upon the parties involved.  Furthermore, if you or your husband or wife is in the military, there may be issues involved such as military retirement, special residency requirements, requirements of service on an active duty spouse. There are those who can agree on a settlement of their issues and so obtaining a divorce is uncontested. Sometimes the parties can enter into an agreement and file it with the petition for divorce.  Or in the alternative, he or she can file the petition with the court and serve the other party with it by process server, who will have 20 days to respond.  Furthermore, if the other party is agreeable he or she can accept service of the petition, rather than being served by a process server.  Upon filing the petition, the court will order that the parties attend a Case Management Conference which is scheduled for 90 days after the petition is filed.  This is a hearing which is essentially a status conference, so that the judge knows what is happening in a case and what needs to be done in it.

Hammering out a divorce agreement!

Even if the parties can come to an agreement, there are still forms which must be completed, some of which are filed with the petition and some are filed prior to the final hearing.  There is mandatory disclosure which is required of both parties; however, they can agree to waive it.  It is required that each party file a Financial Affidavit and this requirement cannot be waived.  If there are children involved, then it is mandatory that a Parenting Plan signed by the parents and a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet be filed.  Child support is mandatory because family law looks at it as it is for the child and cannot be waived by the parents.  

If a marital settlement agreement is not filed with the petition, then the husband and wife will have to come to an agreement thereafter and file it with the court.  If they have attorneys helping them with their divorce, then the attorneys can put the agreement together and the parties will sign it.  If an agreement is reached and  filed, then the parties can proceed to an uncontested final hearing or the final hearing can occur at the Case Management Conference.  At that time, the judge in the case will enter a final judgment which will incorporate all of the terms in the agreement.  It will thereafter be enforceable by the court.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement, then in Hillsborough County, mediation is required prior to the case being heard by the judge.  Mediation can be either through the county or private mediation.  Private mediation may be more costly; however, it can be scheduled earlier in the process, as it usually takes two to three months to schedule a mediation with the county.  Another plus to private mediation is that there is no time limit on the length of the mediation, whereas, county mediation is limited to two hours.  If the case is uncomplicated, then county mediation may be sufficient; however, for more complicated cases it is worth the additional expense to attend private mediation as the parties have more time to settle and are more likely to settle some or all of the issues .  If an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare the agreement for the parties to sign.  It will then be filed with the court and a final uncontested  hearing will be scheduled.  The final judgment will incorporate the terms of the mediation agreement.

A trial date will be scheduled for resolution of all or the remaining issues if the parties cannot come to an agreement at mediation. This will be a contested divorce action. The parties may also need to attend a temporary relief hearing if there are issues such as child supportchild custody and timesharingalimony and property division, which need immediate resolution.  Trial dates may be scheduled for three months or more after mediation.  The parties will attend the trial with their attorneys and each will present testimony and evidence to support their position.  The judge will take it into consideration and he or she will come to a decision at the trial or more often weeks after the trial date.

It is very costly both financially and emotionally to prepare for and attend trial.  Furthermore, neither party may be happy with the court’s decision.  Therefore, if at all possible, it is advisable to come to an agreement which requires that the parties compromise and understand that it may not be possible to receive everything requested.

By Lynette Silon-Laguna

Did Divorces Really Spike During Pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic started nearly one year ago and at that time, predictions were being made that it would cause a spike in divorce cases...