Every divorce comes with its own complications, but if you’re going through a military divorce, there are additional concerns that need to be taken into careful consideration to ensure that your rights and best interests are well protected throughout the legal process. If this is the challenging position you find yourself in, turn to the seasoned legal guidance of an experienced Fort Worth military divorce lawyer for the help you need.
The basic elements of divorce are the same for every divorcing couple, and they include the following terms:
While the terms that must be resolved are the same whether one – or both – spouses are in the military don’t vary, the military does introduce complicating factors that must be carefully considered.
If you file for divorce in Texas, you must serve your spouse with the divorce papers, which often involves having a service professional doing the serving. If your spouse is on active duty, the service must be done in person – even if your spouse is deployed elsewhere, which can complicate your ability to get the divorce process started.
While your spouse can waive the need to be served by submitting an affidavit, this is only true if the divorce is uncontested, which means you are on the same page and were able to resolve each of the applicable divorce terms between yourselves.
Once the military spouse has been served, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides additional legal protections for those who are currently deployed, including:
These can play a critical role in a servicemember’s ability to protect their parental and financial rights in the face of a contested divorce in which the filing spouse requests a default judgment based on the other’s absence from the court within the required time allotment.
In the State of Texas, assets that were acquired during the marriage are marital and must be divided fairly upon divorce. If one spouse is military, however, there are specific rules in place that guide the process. To begin, the spouses of military personnel are generally entitled to half of their spouse’s disposable retired pay – if they were married for at least 10 years while the military spouse was on active duty.
It’s important to note, however, that the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) includes provisions that are designed to protect the financial assets of servicemembers, including that the following are off limits:
While the military spouse retains their health benefits post-divorce, the former spouse generally is no longer eligible for coverage – unless the military spouse was on active duty for at least 20 years of the marriage.
Texas courts make every child custody determination in relation to the involved children’s best interests, and military divorces involving children are no different. There is no denying, however, that the fact of a military spouse’s deployment can complicate the matter. To begin, the parenting plan must take into account the servicemember’s absence and must make corresponding allowances in relation to the time lost with their children as a result of active duty.
Special considerations in the servicemember’s parenting plan can include provisions like the following:
While the child support calculation process does not change as a result of one parent being in the military, the matter can become more challenging if a parent is deployed overseas. And there can be more complex tax implications to consider. Always discuss these issues with our attorneys.
If you’re facing a military divorce, the practiced Fort Worth military divorce lawyers at MBH Fort Worth | Family Law understand how important the outcome is to your future and are committed to skillfully advocating for divorce terms that uphold your rights and best interests.
We care about you and your case, so please don’t delay reaching out and contact us online for more information about what we can do to help you today.