Tampa, Florida

Military Divorce

Tampa Military Divorce

What Will Happen To Your Military Benefits?

The division of assets and / or benefits tends to be one of the biggest sticking points in any divorce negotiation, and factoring in military benefits only adds a new wrinkle for you to navigate. While a large portion of the military divorce proceedings follow the same procedures as a civilian divorce, certain laws determine how many, if any, benefits the civilian spouse receives after the divorce and how they can be divided by the court.

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Divorces between two civilian spouses can be complicated on their own, so when you add in the added complications of determining how to divide military benefits it’s in your best interest to hire a legal professional with experience handling these types of cases. At Givens Givens Sparks, our Tampa divorce attorneys have spent decades providing expert legal guidance to clients throughout Florida, and are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to all of our clients. Contact us today to speak with a member of our legal staff.

Former Military Spouse Benefits

Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), civilian ex-spouses of members of the armed forces may be eligible to certain benefits depending on the length of their marriage and the amount of time their spouse served in the military. In order for the civilian to qualify for full exchange, health care, and commissary benefits after the divorce, the spouses must fulfill the requirements of the 20/20/15 or 20/20/20 rule.

20/20/15 Rule Criteria

  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years.
  • The member of the armed forces must have performed 20 years of creditable military service, but does not need to be retired at the time of the divorce.
  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 15 years during the member of the armed forces’ creditable military service.

As long as the marriage lasted for at least 20 years, the member of the armed forces served for at least 20 years’ worth of creditable military service, and the marriage lasted for at least 15 years while the member of the armed forces performed their creditable military service, the civilian ex-spouse is covered by military health care for up to one year following the divorce, but is not eligible to receive either exchange or commissary benefits.

20/20/20 Rule Criteria

  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years.
  • The member of the armed forces must have performed 20 years of creditable military service, but does not need to be retired at the time of the divorce.
  • The marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years during the member of the armed forces’ creditable military service.

As long as the marriage lasted for at least 20 years, the member of the armed forces served for at least 20 years’ worth of creditable military service, and the marriage lasted for at least 20 years while the member of the armed forces performed their creditable military service, the civilian ex-spouse is eligible to receive full exchange, health care, and commissary benefits.

Neither of these rules address what the court may do in regards to the member of the armed service’s retired pay – under USFSPA, the civilian ex-spouse is not automatically entitled to any portion of the pay, but the state is allowed to treat that pay as if it were disposable income in order to divide it among the spouses, or use it for child support or alimony obligations.

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Hire An Experienced Lawyer Today

Divorce can be an incredibly difficult and potentially contentious affair, but hiring a qualified and experienced lawyer to assist you will put you in the best position to fight for the settlement you need to comfortably move on to the next phase of your life. At Givens Givens Sparks, our Tampa divorce lawyers have over 135 years of collective experience, and have helped countless clients negotiate a beneficial divorce agreement. Fill out our online form to tell us more about your case, or give us a call at (813) 518-7941 to speak with a divorce lawyer today.

Case Results

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which a child was nearly removed from her mother’s custody and given to the child’s alleged father, although the father had not yet established paternity. Candela filed a written response on behalf of her client (the mother) alleging fraud by the father and had the pick-up order set aside before custody was transferred to the father. The practical result was to allow the mother and child stay in their home state (not Florida) pending the resolution of the case. The Court agreed and granted Candela’s client custody.

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client filed a Petition to Establish Paternity, and the mother was served. After being served, the mother fled the state with the child. Candela filed an Emergency Motion for the immediate return of the child, and at that hearing, which was granted on an emergency basis, the mother was forced to turn the child over to the father, giving the father sole custody of the child pending the ultimate resolution of the case.

  • Family Law Case - Relocation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client (the father) accused his child’s mother of relocating the child out of state without the consent of the child’s father. Candela was able to obtain a court order to return the child to the state of Florida and to remain in her client’s care while establishing permanent custody and timesharing plans. After Candela’s successful litigation of the case, the Court ruled that the mother’s Petition for Relocation was denied, and that the child shall live primarily with Candela’s client in Florida, with summer and school break schedules allotted to the mother.

  • Family Law Case - Timesharing Violation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client was accused of violating a timesharing schedule agreed upon by both parental parties at the time the couple was divorced. The client’s child’s mother claimed that Candela’s client did not return the child for holiday timesharing at both Christmas and Easter. Candela had sent formal correspondence to the child’s mother regarding the dispute over the interpretation of the timesharing schedule, and when she did not agree, the father kept the child. The Court agreed with Candela’s interpretation of the timesharing schedule and found that her client was not in contempt for either holiday.

  • Family Law Case - Unilateral Medical-Related Decisions

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which she filed a Motion for Contempt on behalf of her client against the mother of his child for making unilateral medical-related decisions for the minor child without his knowledge. The Court agreed that the mother was in violation of the final judgment of their dissolution of marriage and held her in indirect civil contempt. The Court also ordered that the treatment in question cease immediately and that the mother be solely responsible for any and all costs related to that treatment. Furthermore, the Court ordered that the mother was not to make any unilateral decisions in the future and was to notify the father of any future appointments so that he could be present either over the phone or in person.

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  • "Your guidance and wisdom has truly guided me through this difficult process that I can now put behind me. "

  • "His research, preparation and professionalism is noteworthy in every aspect. You have a brilliant attorney on your team."

  • Paula, thank you so much! You have been a true pleasure to work with through this difficult process. I really appreciate it.

  • "Rob, Thanks again for all of your help through this process. You and Paula have both been great."

  • "Ellen, this comes with sincere gratitude for a job well done. You have restored my faith in your profession. Thank you for always acting in my best interest."

  • "Ellen, I could not have been more fortunate in my legal representation!"

  • "I am very happy that I selected your firm and would not hesitate to give my highest recommendation."

  • "Rob, I wanted to say thank you for all your efforts in getting this agreement settled."

  • You have been wonderfully amazing. Thank you for everything. So grateful.

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At Givens Givens Sparks, your family is our family. As such, we promise to fight for each client and voraciously protect their best interests. Facing a family law issue? Get in touch with us to learn how we can help!

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