Military divorces can be very different from civilian divorces. Our attorney Ted Smith has developed a strong practice within our firm for military divorce. Ted’s experience as a judge advocate general (JAG) officer at Fort Hood and Nancy’s 24 years of experience in family law gives us a unique set of skills that can work to your benefit as a military member or spouse of a military member.
What Makes a Military Divorce Different?
While the grounds for divorce in the military are the same as any other divorce, military members have several protections that prevent them from facing adverse consequences while on active duty. The Service Members Civil Relief Act, for instance, protects military members from having to work through legal proceedings while on duty and for 60 days after they return from active status.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) protects a military spouse’s right to military retired pay as the result of some divorce settlements. It also provides enforcement stipulations for child support and spousal support for military couples.
Where to File for Divorce
Since military families often move regularly, knowing where to file for divorce can affect the process moving forward. You don’t have to file for a divorce in the state or county where you got married, but you should file in the state where one spouse has an established residency. To qualify for a Texas divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for six months and in the county in which you intend to file for at least three months.
Child Custody in Military Divorce
Some active military members worry they cannot keep their parental rights during divorce proceedings. As in any other divorce proceeding, the court will assign custody based on a parent’s ability to provide for the child’s best interests. A military member can share joint custody or obtain full custody and name someone as a temporary custodian while on active duty.
Under Texas laws, a military member’s custody and visitation rights might transfer to his or her parents during active duty. As soon as an active member returns, he or she retains custody rights. Furthermore, a military parent may ask for additional visitation time upon returning home.
Financial Considerations in Military Divorce
Understanding financial obligations during a military divorce is a complex matter. Military members’ child and spousal support payments are determined by Leave and Earnings Statements. Since military pay works differently than a traditional paycheck, having a military divorce specialist walk you through your income considerations can provide peace of mind.
During property division, many military-related assets are subject to division between a military member and spouse, particularly if a couple was married for several years. Understanding what you may owe and what benefits you may have access to can help you protect your right to a fair and equitable division of assets.
Each case is different, and deserves close examination by a qualified legal specialist. Bring the financial documents you have to your free case evaluation, and we will help you work through the considerations that may affect child custody, property division, and spousal support.
Handling Military Divorce Cases for Military Members and Spouses
Military divorces do not always take place in the states. If you and your spouse are abroad, our attorneys can help you wherever you are deployed or stationed. In addition to state divorce laws, federal statutes that affect all service members also govern every military divorce.
As your military divorce firm, we will not only help you navigate the complex laws that govern divorce agreements; we will also help you find the support you need to move on with your life after a divorce. From helping you connect with military support services to pursuing modifications to support orders, we offer complete in-person and remote divorce services. Contact our team today to set up your free consultation.