Divorce is never easy, but when either or both spouses are in the military, the process can be even more daunting.
Understanding how the Texas military divorce laws could affect you is critical, as is knowing—and protecting—your legal rights.
Talking to a Texas divorce attorney can help, as long as you choose a lawyer who has experience with military divorces.
The compassionate legal professionals at the Larson Law Office can help.
Our dedicated husband-and-wife team has the knowledge and experience you need on your side.
What Makes Military Divorce in Texas Different?
A number of laws, both state and federal, affect the military divorce process. One of the primary considerations is that divorce papers must be personally served on an active duty servicemember. No other form of process service is acceptable. If an active duty spouse is deployed overseas, for example, this could affect the timeline of the divorce process.
The time required for a servicemember to respond to being served may also be extended. Under the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA), active duty servicemembers have an additional 90 days to respond to being served. They can also request that the court delay the hearing process until they return from deployment.
What If My Spouse Lives in a Different State?
To file for divorce in Texas, one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months. That spouse must also have been a resident of the county in which the proceedings will take place for six months.
For a military divorce, you also have the right to file in Texas if you are stationed in the state or if you were deployed from the state. As long as one of the parties meets the requirements necessary to file for divorce in Texas, it doesn’t matter where the other spouse lives.
Texas Military Divorce and Child Custody
Matters involving child custody, child support, and spousal support are essentially the same for both military and civilian divorces. Child support payments are calculated based on the guidelines established in Texas law. However, the total amount cannot exceed 60% of the servicemember’s pay.
The parties must work out a formal parenting plan, including terms of custody, visitation, and conservatorship. If the servicemember expects to be deployed, you may have to include provisions that take this factor into consideration.
Division of Property in Military Divorce
With few exceptions, the division of property in a military divorce is identical to property division in a civilian divorce. In Texas, any property the parties hold separate from their spouse is typically not subject to division, as long as you can provide proof.
Community property, including real property, vehicles, bank accounts, etc., is subject to division by the court unless the parties can reach a mutual agreement on their distribution.
The primary difference in divorce proceedings where a servicemember is involved is the way military retirement and health insurance benefits are distributed.
Whether a non-servicemember spouse can take a portion of the servicemember’s retirement benefits depends on multiple factors, including the duration of the marriage and the amount of time the servicemember was on active duty during the marriage.
The servicemember might also have to provide healthcare for a dependent spouse as well as any minor children.
To understand specifically how the division of property laws affect your situation, talk to an experienced military divorce lawyer. If you qualify to receive a portion of your spouse’s military retirement benefits and health insurance benefits, your attorney can fight to help ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
How a Texas Military Divorce Lawyer Can Help
Whether you are a servicemember who has been served with divorce papers or you want to learn more about divorcing a servicemember, talking to a lawyer can provide critical insight.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate all the complexities related to military divorce. Texas state and federal laws can significantly affect how a divorce will impact you financially, both now and in the future. Don’t risk your future or that of your children by trying to navigate this complex process on your own.
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation
For help with a military divorce in Texas, contact the husband-and-wife divorce law team of the Larson Law Office. We personally handle every aspect of your case and fight to ensure the protection of your rights. Contact us now to schedule a no-cost consultation, or call us at (713) 221-9088.