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How Can a Spouse’s Military Service Affect a Texas Divorce?

Posted on in Complex Divorce

TX divorce lawyerLife can be full of challenges for military families, including frequent relocations and extended absences for spouses and parents. When a military marriage fails, the family can also face unique challenges throughout the divorce process. Whether you are a service member yourself or you are married to one, you should be prepared for the possible effects on asset division, child custody, and other divorce-related issues.

Effects on Divorce Proceedings

Most couples who want to file for divorce in Texas must first meet a residency requirement, with at least one spouse having been a Texas resident for at least the last six months. However, military couples can instead qualify based on a spouse’s temporary stationing for military service in Texas. An attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to file, and in what county you should do so.

The divorce process can also be impacted if a service member is currently stationed away from Texas while their spouse continues to live there. Though you can file for divorce at any time after meeting the residency requirement, a spouse who is absent due to service obligations can delay the proceedings until they are able to appear in person, according to the terms of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

Effects on Child Custody

When making child custody and visitation decisions, Texas courts will not discriminate against a parent based on their military service. However, a parent who is deployed or who frequently travels because of their military service may face obstacles to spending time with their children. The court may take this into consideration and prioritize an arrangement that allows a military parent as much time as possible with their children, as well as issue temporary orders adjusting parental responsibilities while a parent is deployed.

Effects on Asset Division

Like all divorcing couples, military couples will need to reach a resolution on the division of community property acquired during the marriage. However, civilian spouses may also be concerned about their access to certain financial benefits and resources that were available to them based on their spouse’s military service. Perhaps the most notable concerns are retired pay and healthcare benefits.

According to the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), a civilian spouse may be entitled to part of a military spouse’s retired pay if the divorce resolution states that this will be the case, and the marriage lasted at least 10 years that overlapped with 10 years of military service. The requirements are more substantial for ongoing health benefits. For a civilian spouse to qualify, the marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years that overlapped with at least 20 years of military service.

Contact an Austin, TX Military Divorce Attorney

At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we understand that military service can complicate the divorce process. We are here to answer your questions, protect your interests, and help you resolve the issues that apply to your family’s situation. If you need legal advice and representation, contact our Texas divorce lawyers today at 512-610-6199.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.6.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

https://www.justice.gov/servicemembers/servicemembers-civil-relief-act-scra

https://www.military.com/benefits/military-legal-matters/uniformed-services-former-spouse-protection-overview.html

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