Military Divorce Lawyer in Houston & Harris County
Divorce is difficult, and even more so when one or both spouses are in the military.
According to Pentagon data, the divorce rate for military service members is consistently higher than the rate for the general U.S. population.
At The Larson Law Office, PLLC, our attorneys have experience as divorce lawyers for military spouses.
When you call our office, a family law attorney will explain the complexity of divorcing while in the military.
First, military deployment can affect where you should file your divorce petition. Second, divorce will affect whether you can receive military and retirement benefits. Finally, you should consider how child custody and support will work during active duty deployment.
For a free consultation to learn how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to call (713) 221-9088 or send us an online message.
Can You File for Military Divorce in Texas?
Divorce is governed by state law, so it’s important to choose the right state to file your divorce petition. Typically, you must file in the county where you live or have a permanent residence.
For military families, determining their “home” county can be complicated. Under Texas law, if you have been absent from the state because of military service, you may file for divorce in Texas if:
- Texas has been the home state of either you or your spouse for at least six months; and
- The county where you plan to file for divorce has been the home county of either spouse for at least 90 days.
In addition, before a court may impose a legal obligation on your spouse (for example, spousal or child support), the court must have personal jurisdiction over the spouse.
The court must also have personal jurisdiction over a child before it can order child custody arrangements. This usually means that the spouse or child lives in the same county within which the court is located.
The spouse may choose to waive personal jurisdiction, or you can personally serve them. If you are currently on active duty deployment, you can apply for a 90-day stay until you can appear in court.
Rights to Your Spouse’s Military and Retirement Benefits
While your spouse is deployed in the military, you have rights to installation housing and other base benefits. Typically, when your spouse moves out because of divorce, you may lose access to military housing within 30 days.
However, under the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, you may be entitled to continue receiving medical care, exchange, and commissary benefits.
In addition, the Act allows state courts to divide disposable military retired pay between the service member and spouse. In Texas divorces, courts divide property in a “just and right” manner. Our military divorce lawyers in Houston will explain.
Texas courts typically consider the length of the marriage and the length of active duty service in awarding a portion of retirement benefits.
Further, if you previously had TRICARE benefits through your spouse, you are entitled to temporary health care coverage.
Additionally, you may continue to receive survivor benefits if the military spouse designates you as a beneficiary voluntarily or after a court order.
If the divorce occurs after retirement, the former spouse’s coverage will remain the same as spousal coverage.
If you divorce before the service member retires, the specific coverage level will be directed by court order. You can lose your eligibility for survivor benefits if you remarry before age 55.
Military Divorces with Children
Child custody is often one of the most contentious issues in divorce. Texas law presumes that it is in the best interest of the child for both parents to have joint managing conservatorship.
However, it can be complicated to plan for when a parent deploys or relocates for service. Fortunately, the law prevents one spouse from changing a parental arrangement without the other spouse’s approval.
It’s typical for military parents to apply for long-distance arrangements and periods of custody that will work on leave.
We believe that many times the best parental plans are ones where both spouses agree. Nonetheless, if you aren’t able to agree, our military divorce lawyers in Harris County can help you find a solution that works best for your family.
Contact a Military Divorce Lawyer in Houston
Divorce is never easy. Your Houston military divorce attorney at The Larson Law Office will support you through the process.
We understand military benefits and can help you preserve your military retirement rights. We’ll stand up for your rights and ensure that your spouse can’t take advantage of you while you’re deployed.
When you contact The Larson Law Office, you’ll get in touch with an experienced Texas divorce attorney who will give you the personal attention you deserve.
Fill out our short form or call (713) 221-9088 today for a free consultation.
Other types of divorce cases we handle, include: