Military Divorce Attorney in Austin, TX
A military divorce in Texas, where one or both spouses are active members of the military, will usually involve additional formalities compared to a civilian Texas divorce. The state has specific laws pertaining to military divorces, and some federal laws will also apply.
Considering the relatively higher complexities involved, a service member or their spouse should speak to a knowledgeable Texas military divorce lawyer to ensure that their rights are fully protected under both federal and state laws.
How to File for a Military Divorce in Texas?
When a military personnel or their spouse has decided to go ahead with a divorce, they should file a petition in the Texas County where they reside. According to the state law, the individual petitioning for divorce should have been a resident of the state for a minimum of 90 days. A service member who has been stationed in Texas for this minimum period is also eligible to file a divorce in the state.
In civilian divorces, if a party fails to respond to certain requests, he or she could be held in default. But the rules are slightly different for military personnel in Texas because their nature of work is such that they may be located abroad or in regions where communication is slow or limited. Considering these factors, military members are protected from default under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.
Therefore, for the duration of their active military duty and an additional 60 days beyond that, a service member’s divorce proceeding can be deferred.
Serving a Summons to an Active Military Spouse
Texas law requires that an active military duty spouse must be served with a summons and a divorce action copy before a Texas court can have jurisdiction over the case. In an uncontested divorce, it is not necessary for the active duty spouse to be served, provided he or she has submitted an affidavit to acknowledge the divorce action.
Division of Property and Benefits in a Military Divorce
Texas is a community property state, and all the laws pertaining to marital property will apply in a military divorce, just as in a civil divorce. However, an exception is that there are certain federal regulations related to the division of retirement benefits in a military divorce.
A dependent spouse in a military divorce is eligible to receive a part of the retirement benefits, provided the couple was married for at least 10 years during which the service member was on active duty. Once this condition is satisfied, the division of military retirement benefits will be then determined in accordance with the USFSPA regulations (Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act).
Health Insurance Benefits
Military families proceeding with a divorce in Texas should know that if the marriage lasts for 20 years or more, out of which at least 20 years were spent with one spouse in active military duty, then the other spouse might be eligible for military health insurance and other benefits following the divorce.
To ensure that you are receiving your rightful share of marital assets and retirement benefits as a military spouse, you should have an experienced Texas military divorce lawyer by your side.
Child Custody and Support in a Military Divorce
When a military family is contemplating divorce, they should understand the laws related to child custody and child support for military personnel and their spouse. Child support in Texas in a military divorce will be determined according to the same guidelines that apply to a civil divorce. However, the child support amount cannot be higher than 60 percent of the total salary and allowances of the active service member.
Child custody decisions for military families can be more complex. Texas has a requirement for divorcing couples with minor children to submit a written parenting plan. Service members should assess the following issues while preparing a formal parenting plan:
- How will they care for the child during a deployment?
- Would they like the child to be relocated if their service duty requires them to move out of Texas or to be stationed in a foreign country?
- What will happen in the event of a remarriage of a parent?
If the former spouses are unable to agree on a parenting plan in conformance with the guidelines, a Texas judge will rule on the custody matters.
Work with a Skilled and Competent Military Divorce Attorney in Texas
As an active duty military member or spouse who is planning to file for divorce in Texas, you need a lawyer with a thorough understanding of the federal and state laws related to military divorces.
At the Law Office of Eric M. Willie, PC, we know how to handle the unique issues in military divorces, such as jurisdiction, division of marital assets and retirement benefits, child custody and support.
Our experienced military divorce lawyers will help you obtain the most favorable resolution for your divorce matters. To request a consultation, call 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form (also available at the top of the page).