When a party to a divorce is a servicemember, or married to a servicemember, there are additional considerations and several differences than when both parties are civilians. Some examples of these are:
What is the 10/10 Rule?
One of the largest misconceptions in military family law is that if you haven’t been married for 10 years then the non-servicemember is not entitled to any military retirement. This is not the case. The 10/10 rule means that the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will pay a former spouse their portion of a military retirement award if the parties were married for at least 10 years during at least 10 years of military service.
What is considered an available resource on a Leave and Earnings Statement when calculating child support?
A Leave and Earnings Statement is not the same as a pay stub from a civilian job. There are additional payments for BAH and BAS. There are also often payments for deployment or hazard duty pay. Additionally, sometimes there are tax breaks on pay received if a servicemember is deployed.
What benefits are available to the non-servicemember both during and post divorce?
Some benefits post divorce are only for the former spouse and some may be given to children such as continued commissary privileges and healthcare. Depending on the length of the marriage during military duty, the former spouse may also be able to obtain insurance through the military post divorce.
One of the most discussed benefits is the Survivor Benefit Plan or SBP.
Who gets it? Who pays for it? What does it mean? A knowledgeable Austin military attorney can answer all of these questions for you about your SBP.
How will property be divided including military retirement, real estate, and vehicles?
The appropriate calculation and thus division of military retirement can change depending on the servicemembers total time in service. The calculation is also very different for those servicemembers who are active duty for the entirety of their military career compared to those who serve in the Reserves or National Guard. The distinction is very important and can make a big difference in the ultimate division if it is not calculated correctly.
What does possession look like during military duty?
What happens if the servicemember is deployed? Who has the periods of possession that servicemember would have normally had? An experienced military family law attorney will know to include provisions in any order for possession, electronic communication, and any other necessary details for periods of deployment or extended training.
The struggle of geographic restrictions. Texas often imposes a geographic restriction that lifts should the possessory parent move out of that geographic area. If someone is a servicemember, the courts will sometimes expand this to a large geographic area. Deployments and extended training generally do not count as a move to a servicemember which would life the geographic restriction for the other parent, but a change in duty station could. It is important to consult an attorney to find out if a future anticipated deployment or change in station would impact an already existing geographic restriction.
Figuring out where to even file a divorce is another complicated issue. Many states, including Texas, allow servicemembers who are stationed outside of Texas to file for divorce in Texas if there are no children involved. If there are children involved, then jurisdiction should be considered under the UCCJEA and you should consult with an attorney regarding this very complicated and specific area of the law.
Contact us today
All of our attorneys focus on family law, but Attorney Jillian French has been handling military divorce since 2013 for many military personnel and members of their families at Fort Hood and surrounding areas. If you have any questions about a military divorce in Texas, please contact our experienced attorneys today at 512-605-0999.
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