Why is the Military Divorce Rate High in Florida?

military divorce

Why is the Military Divorce Rate High in Florida?

The military divorce rate in Florida remains a significant concern, with statistics indicating a higher incidence compared to the national average. Despite efforts to understand and address this trend, the divorce rate among military personnel remains disproportionately high. Understanding the demographic composition of military personnel in Florida and the specific stressors they face is essential in comprehending the dynamics behind the elevated divorce rate within the state’s military community.

Unique Challenges Faced by Military Families

Military families in Florida encounter a distinct set of challenges that contribute to the elevated divorce rate within this population. These challenges encompass various aspects of military life and the unique circumstances present in the state.

Deployment and Relocation

Military families in Florida often face the hardship of frequent deployments and relocations, driven by the state’s significant military presence. These deployments disrupt family life, causing emotional strain and logistical challenges. The uncertainty surrounding deployment schedules and the potential for extended periods of separation exacerbate the stress experienced by military families.

Financial Stressors

Financial stressors are prevalent among military personnel and their families in Florida, stemming from factors such as lower wages compared to civilian counterparts, limited employment opportunities for spouses due to frequent relocations, and additional expenses associated with military life. These financial pressures strain relationships and contribute to marital discord.

Impact of Frequent Separations on Relationships

The nature of military service necessitates frequent separations from loved ones, which takes a toll on relationships. In Florida, military families grapple with the emotional strain of prolonged separations, adjusting to life without their partner, and managing family responsibilities single-handedly. These challenges can lead to feelings of isolation, resentment, and difficulty maintaining emotional connections.

Access to Support Services

While support services are available for military families in Florida, accessing them can be challenging due to geographic dispersion and limited resources in certain areas. Military spouses and children may encounter barriers to accessing mental health support, counseling services, and community resources, exacerbating the stressors they face.

Military Divorce Laws in Florida

Military divorce laws are governed by both state legislation and federal statutes, creating a complex legal landscape for divorcing military couples:

  • State Laws: Florida state laws dictate the procedures and requirements for divorce proceedings, including:
    • Residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state.
    • Grounds for divorce, which can include both no-fault and fault-based grounds such as adultery or cruelty.
    • Guidelines for property division, alimony, and child custody arrangements.
  • Federal Laws: Federal statutes address specific issues unique to military personnel, such as:
    • The division of military pensions and benefits, including the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).
    • Protections provided under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which may allow for the postponement of legal proceedings during active duty service.

Jurisdictional Issues

Jurisdictional issues in military divorces in Florida can arise due to the transient nature of military life and the potential for spouses to reside in different states or countries. Key jurisdictional considerations include:

  • Residency Requirements: Florida has specific residency requirements for filing for divorce, typically requiring one spouse to be a resident of the state for a certain period before initiating divorce proceedings. However, military members may claim Florida as their legal residence even if they are stationed elsewhere, potentially complicating jurisdictional determinations.
  • Military Service: The military spouse’s active duty status and deployment can impact jurisdictional issues. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain protections, including the ability to postpone legal proceedings, which can affect the timing of divorce filings and jurisdictional determinations.
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA): This act governs jurisdictional matters related to child custody disputes across state lines. In cases where military families have moved frequently, determining the appropriate jurisdiction for child custody matters can be complex.
  • Dividing Military Benefits: Jurisdictional issues may arise when dividing military pensions and benefits, as federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) govern the division of these assets. Coordination between state and federal courts may be necessary to ensure proper adjudication of these issues.

Division of Military Benefits and Assets in Florida

In Florida, the division of military benefits and assets during divorce proceedings follows specific guidelines outlined by both state laws and federal regulations. Key considerations include:

  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA): Under federal law, the USFSPA provides guidelines for the division of military pensions and benefits during divorce. It allows state courts to treat military pensions as divisible marital property, ensuring that former spouses may receive a portion of the servicemember’s retirement benefits.
  • Marital Property Laws in Florida: Florida follows equitable distribution laws when dividing marital property during divorce. This means that military pensions and benefits acquired during the marriage are typically considered marital assets subject to division, regardless of which spouse served in the military.
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs): To divide military pensions and retirement benefits, a Qualified
  • Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may be necessary. A QDRO is a court order that directs the military’s pay center to divide retirement benefits between the servicemember and their former spouse according to the terms of the divorce settlement.
  • Calculation of Benefits: Florida courts may use various methods to determine the equitable distribution of military benefits, including the “time rule” or “marital share” approach, which calculates the portion of the military pension or retirement benefits attributable to the duration of the marriage.
  • Other Considerations: In addition to pensions and retirement benefits, other military assets such as Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs), Survivor Benefit Plans (SBPs), and housing allowances may also be subject to division during divorce proceedings.

Military Divorce Proceedings with LaFrance

Florida’s vibrant culture and lifestyle can impact military marriages positively, as the state offers a unique blend of coastal living, diverse communities, and recreational opportunities. However, the fast-paced lifestyle and transient nature of military service may strain relationships. Seeking guidance from experienced legal professionals in getting a divorce in the military can provide clarity and support during challenging times. For expert assistance with military divorce proceedings in Florida, call us at 813-461-4797.