Orlando Military Divorce Lawyer

If you decide to end your marriage, an Orlando military divorce lawyer can help. At the O’Mara Law Group, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in the complexities of military divorces and can offer personalized guidance to help you seek spousal support, protect military pensions, and gain child custody. You can trust our dedicated team to protect your rights and advocate for your best interests.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara

Content last updated on: December 11, 2023

Military service members and their spouses have certain unique circumstances to consider when contemplating a divorce. If you are a service member or the spouse of one, you need a competent and empathetic Orlando military divorce lawyer to assist you. Military divorces can be complicated, but having an attorney with the right knowledge and skills can help you overcome the unique obstacles you may encounter. 

At the O’Mara Law Group, we specialize in family law. Our team of exceptionally skilled military divorce lawyers can offer you guidance, compassion, and experience throughout the process.

Compassionate and Experienced Military Divorce Lawyers

When you need the assistance of an Orlando divorce lawyer, reach out to the O’Mara Law Group. We take pride in our qualifications and experience as family law attorneys in Florida. Our team includes highly experienced attorneys Mark M. O’Mara and Cathleen Winter, who are recognized for their exceptional knowledge and accomplishments in the legal field. 

Mark M. O’Mara has been a renowned member of the Central Florida legal community since 1982. After initially serving as a prosecutor for the State Attorney’s office in Seminole County, he transitioned to defense work. Mark is board certified in Criminal Trial Law and Marital and Family Law in Florida. Additionally, he is certified in Collaborative Law, is Martindale-Hubbell A.V. Preeminent rated, and is a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and Circuit Civil Mediator.

Cathleen Winter is an accomplished attorney who focuses on family law and has represented numerous clients in divorce cases. Cathleen possesses a wealth of expertise in divorce, alimony, child support, visitation, modification proceedings, paternity, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She was recognized by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys for exceptional and outstanding client service, was listed as one of the 10 Best Attorneys in Florida in 2018, and was on the Super Lawyers Florida Rising Stars lists in 2020, 2021, and 2022.She is also the current President of the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association, and is a Founding Member of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL) Orlando Chapter.

Mark Rabinowitz has been Board Certified in Marital and Family Law in Florida since 1999. He has served on the Marital and Family Law Certification Committee of The Florida Bar, and has served as a member of the Family Law Rules Committee.

 

What Rights Do Spouses Have in a Military Divorce?

Both military servicemembers and their spouses have certain rights in a divorce. 

In a divorce settlement, current and former military members and their spouses must account for special rules concerning spousal support, pensions, health care, and survivor plan benefits. 

Spousal Support

The less financially stable spouse can receive financial support through the divorce process. The court takes into account various factors to determine alimony, such as the following: 

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The earning potential of each spouse
  • The sacrifices made by the non-military spouse during the marriage

For these cases, you will want to seek guidance from an experienced alimony attorney who specializes in military divorces. 

Additionally, if you’re in a military family with children, you may have questions about seeking financial support in these cases, contact a child support lawyer

Military Pensions

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, or USFSPA, allows state courts to divide your military pension as part of a divorce settlement. The USFSPA also grants former military spouses certain rights and benefits, such as health care access and exchange privileges. A military divorce attorney can provide you with the necessary guidance and support to understand the provisions of the USFSPA, including determining the specific benefits your spouse may receive. 

Generally, the court will divide your pension based on the marriage’s length, its overlap with your military service, your rank, and years of service. However, a pension isn’t automatically divided. Generally, the spouse must file a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.

Health Care

Generally, spouses of military servicemembers must meet the 20/20/20 rule to receive benefits. Under these requirements, the servicemember must have 20 years of creditable military service, have been married for 20 years, and the marriage must have overlapped with the term of service for 20 years. In this case, the ex-spouse can keep their TRICARE health care benefits even after a divorce.

However, not all marriages meet the 20/20/20 criteria, in which case the 20/20/15 rule might apply. If the marriage lasted at least 20 years and had at least 15 years of overlap with the military service, the non-military spouse is eligible for one year of TRICARE coverage following the divorce. 

While the 20/20/15 rule only offers a limited duration of coverage, it does provide valuable benefits at a critical time when the non-military spouse may be transitioning to their own health care coverage. This provision recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by military spouses during the marriage and provides a temporary safety net to meet their health care needs.

Survivor Plan Benefits

Some military spouses may have the right to receive financial support through the Survivor Benefit Plan. This plan provides a monthly payment to the surviving spouse if the military member dies. Essentially, a portion of the military member’s retirement pay continues to be paid to the surviving spouse through this plan. 

Child Custody for Parents in the Military

Parenting plans must also accommodate the unique challenges of military service, such as deployments and frequent relocations. Your absence due to deployment may require temporary modifications to the custody arrangement. Generally, the courts consider the child’s best interests while also considering the military member’s duty requirements. 

You will want to prioritize the child’s best interests and seek legal guidance from an experienced child custody lawyer specializing in military cases. 

Military Divorce FAQs

Is Military Divorce the Same as Regular Divorce?

While many aspects of a military divorce are similar to a regular divorce, some specific unique considerations and provisions apply to military personnel and their families.

Determining the jurisdiction for filing the divorce can be challenging because service members are stationed in different states or overseas. However, special rules, such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, may apply to protect the rights of the military member.

Military pensions are considered marital property subject to division in a divorce, with the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act governing the division of military pensions.

Child support calculations in military divorces generally follow state guidelines, but additional factors may be involved, such as housing allowances, combat pay, and other military-specific allowances. A Florida military divorce lawyer will be able to outline other differences between these divorces. 

What Is the 10-Year Rule for Military Divorces?
The “10/10 rule” allows a former spouse to receive a portion of a servicemember’s military retirement pay directly from the Department of Defense if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years while the servicemember was on active duty. 

How Fast Can You Get a Divorce in the Military?

The speed at which a divorce can be finalized in the military can vary, just like in civilian cases. The military itself does not dictate the timeline for divorce proceedings. A divorce in Orlando will follow Florida law. 

If there are no challenges to the divorce, the couple can file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Typically, it takes around 30 days from the first filing to the finalizing of the dissolution.  However, any objections will increase that timeframe and lead to delays. 

What Is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that provides certain legal protections to service members and their families during active duty. It covers various aspects of civil litigation, including divorce proceedings. 

For these cases, the SCRA allows service members to request a temporary stay or postponement of civil proceedings, including divorce, child custody, foreclosure, and eviction hearings. This protection ensures that service members can focus on their military duties without the distraction of legal matters.

Another protection that SCRA may provide is relief from a default judgment. If a service member cannot participate in a lawsuit or legal proceeding due to active military duty, the SCRA allows them to request a stay of entry of default judgments. This prevents a judgment from being entered against the servicemember simply because they cannot respond or appear in court.

Work With the O'Mara Law Group

Choosing the right Orlando military divorce attorney to represent you during a military divorce is important. The O’Mara Law Group has a team of compassionate and experienced family attorneys ready to protect the rights and interests of military service members and their families in Orlando, Florida.

Contact the O’Mara Law Group today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward your future. From spousal support and military pensions to child custody and the intricacies of military divorce law, our team will handle your case skillfully and compassionately. Schedule a consultation today, and let us help you navigate this difficult process.

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