When military couples seek a divorce, there are certain rules that must be followed in order for their divorce to be finalized. Although military divorces are similar to civilian ones in most respects, an attorney in Texas who handles divorce proceedings may advise clients that the entire process to file for a divorce while an active duty military member is different.

Certain federal laws that pertain specifically to active-duty service members must be followed and can differ from state to state. Residency must also be considered as well as other conditions that can make getting a divorce while on active duty challenging. This is why it is recommended that active duty couples work with a divorce lawyer experienced with military divorce proceedings.

Where Do Military Couples File?

Typically, divorces are filed where a couple lives, although this is not always possible with military couples on active duty. Active members of the military may get new orders and/or be deployed at any time, which can present problems if a divorce is being planned. There may not have been sufficient time to establish residency the state where currently stationed. A divorce law firm that handles military dissolution advise that the state of jurisdiction must be determined and the divorce action must then be filed in that state.

A divorce attorney who is familiar with military divorce in Texas is aware that military couples may file for divorce in Texas if the active duty member, or their spouse, has been a resident for at least six months; has been in the county for three or more months; and the active duty member is stationed in Texas. If stationed in another state or deployed away from the home base or post, the process is more in depth and may require filing in a different state that has jurisdiction.

Serving of Divorce Papers

For Texas courts to proceed with a military divorce, the active duty member must be served in person with divorce papers. It is also possible for the spouses of military members to file a waiver affidavit to not be served in person and the courts can proceed; however, this can only be done when the divorce is uncontested. A Texas divorce lawyer advises clients that active duty military members are also protected by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521, which prevents them from being held in default for failure to respond to a divorce summons if they are on active duty. Active duty members can have divorce proceedings postponed for as long as they are on active duty and up to 60 days afterward. They can also waive this protection and proceed with the divorce if desired.

Division of Property

In Texas, all normal rules regarding the division of property and marital assets apply as they would in any other divorce proceeding. One exception noted by a divorce attorney who has experience in military divorces is that there are federal rules regarding the division of military retirement. In order for a dependent spouse to receive any disbursement from retirement benefits, the couple must have been married for at least ten years while the military member was on active duty. Actual division and disbursement of military retirement assets are then determined in accordance to the guidelines set in the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).

Custody and Child Support in Military Divorce

According to a lawyer experienced in military divorce, the active duty military member must also determine which state has jurisdiction regarding any minor children before custody and child support can be determined. Support orders in Texas are decided according to the normal guidelines for support determination, although support may not exceed 60 percent of the pay and allowances of the active duty member.

With the assistance of an attorney familiar with military divorces, actions filed in Texas are generally the same as most other divorces, with the exception of some specific requirements for the action to proceed within the state. Active duty military members should always work with an experienced law firm that is familiar with military divorces. It is important during a military divorce to know the best way to handle concerns such as jurisdiction, child custody, and division of property as it applies to a military member to let divorcing couples reach the most favorable resolution for their individual situation.

Foreman Family Law
307 South Main Street Suite 201
Bryan TX 77803
(979) 599-9199

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