A military divorce can bring its own, unique issues, when compared to a civilian divorce. While state and federal laws and rules apply to your Florida military divorce, speaking to a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney can be extremely beneficial. The attorneys at The Law Place have a comprehensive understanding of the issues associated with a military divorce, particularly the laws which shield those on active duty in the military. The Law Place attorneys are familiar with the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS, Section 521, which allows a Florida court to postpone any divorce proceedings both while one spouse is on active military duty and for two months afterwards. If you have a spouse on active military duty, and choose to file for divorce on your own, you will need two special forms in addition to the many other divorce forms. The forms pertaining to military personnel on active duty are:
• 12.912(a)—Memorandum for Certificate of Military Service
• 12.912(b)—Affidavit of Military Service
You must use the Affidavit of Military Service in any case in which the Respondent has failed to answer the Petition of Dissolution of Marriage or make an appearance. This law exists to protect those in the military from having a court judgment—such as a divorce—entered against them without proper notification and the chance to protect their case. If the following statements are true in your specific case, then you should use the Affidavit of Military Service:
• There has been no personal or constructive service of the other party to your case.
• Your petition has received no response from the other party to your case.
• You are requesting a default judgment against the other person.
You will be asked to affirm one of four statements; either that you know the Respondent IS on active military duty, you know the Respondent IS NOT on active military duty, you have contacted the military services and obtained certification that the Respondent IS NOT on active military duty or that you have attempted to ascertain the military status of the Respondent but you are lacking sufficient information. If you check the last statement you will be required to state all avenues you have pursued in order to determine whether the Respondent is, or is not, on active military duty.
The Memorandum for Certificate of Military Service is used if you KNOW OR DO NOT KNOW whether the Respondent is on active military duty. The form states that “even if you believe that the other party has never or would never join the military, you must show the court proof that he or she is not a member of the military.” As you can see, filing for divorce in the civilian world is much simpler than filing for a military divorce. Couples in a military marriage may move from one state to another, complicating the divorce process, and if the couple has been in Florida for a relatively short amount of time, residency requirements may not have been established.
If you have decided to proceed with a Florida military divorce on your own, you will need to ensure that all necessary forms are properly filled out and filed with the court clerk. In order for a Sarasota court to have jurisdiction over your divorce, you must ensure your military spouse receives a Summons and a Petition for Dissolution. It is never a good idea for a non-military spouse to try and circumvent the necessary requirements associated with notifying the military spouse as any default judgment could end up being set aside. Speaking to a knowledgeable Florida family law attorney from The Law Place can allow you deal with the many other issues you are certainly dealing with while leaving the complexities of your military divorce to a professional who will always protect your rights and interests. The Law Place attorneys understand the stress brought on by military service can take a serious toll on a marriage; we have extensive experience helping people just like you and will ensure you are treated fairly.