September 18, 2015 | Share
Military Divorce in Texas
Divorce for couples with one (or both) spouses in or retired from the military is a bit different from a civilian divorce. Depending on the circumstances of your life, nearly every aspect can vary.
Get help from a McKinney divorce lawyer at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC today for guidance through a military divorce. Our lawyers are experienced in all aspects of divorce, including assisting those who are serving or have served our country.
Residency and Filing
As with any divorce in Texas, one or both of the spouses has to have sufficient connection to Texas to file here. The connection is usually made by one of the spouse's residency in the state. When you or your spouse is in the military, the same rule may apply.
It should be noted that serving overseas or spending long periods of time in another state doesn’t void your Texas residency. If your spouse is in the military and traveling frequently, but you live in Texas, you can still file here without concern.
Military service can make matters of child custody and support a little more complicated. Of course, it would be best if both parents could agree on how to split visitation and remain flexible based on service needs.
The truth is, though, the military can place great demands on families — regardless of whether the parents stay together or not. In some situations, the non-military spouse may not be a suitable caregiver for the child or children.
Working closely with an experienced divorce lawyer is usually how you can help ensure the best interests of your children are being served. Since your situation requires unusual sensitivity from everyone involved, we may need to get a judge involved in the decision-making process.
As with all parents, military parents have an obligation to support their children. Texas has clear child support guidelines based on income, but military income doesn’t always conform to the same predictable schedules as other income.
Additionally, tax returns are of little value because military members do not pay taxes. Instead, we will need to look at a Leave and Earnings statement, a comprehensive document that is similar to a pay stub. This will tell us what we need to know about military income and allowances.
In some cases, you may have difficulty if a military spouse doesn’t want to furnish this information. However, we can still work through the situation and obtain the information directly from the military.
Playing games with child support is a bad idea, though -- the military issues serious sanctions on members for failure to comply.
Division of property may vary, too. In Texas, community property is divided by what a judge deems "just and right." This doesn’t necessarily mean the division will be 50/50.
Military benefits have unique facets to them. In some cases, military members may take a bonus in return for a lower pension rate. Some non-military spouses may choose a lump sum payout or to wait and see what military benefits accrue over time until the military spouse retires.
These matters can become complex. Making sure we prepare accounting evidence and make appropriate decisions about what will be best for you is crucial to a favorable settlement.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Military members may find themselves benefitted by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This Act allows us to take our time and make sure that divorce drama doesn’t impact your career or force you into hasty decisions.
If you are preparing for a military divorce in Texas, contact our divorce lawyers today.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce