At The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we recently received a phone call from
the spouse of an active duty member of our armed services. She, her husband
and their children are stationed in Europe currently and unfortunately
the phone call pertained to her and her husband seeking a
military divorce. While the process of divorcing a spouse who is in the military is nearly
the same as a
civilian divorce, the difference merit further examination.
Military Divorce V. Civilian Divorce
To begin, a
military divorce should be filed where a party considers their domicile to be. Meaning,
if either spouse considers Texas to be their permanent home that they
intend to return to upon completion of their deployment, then either spouse
may file in Texas. The standard jurisdictional law still is relevant,
however: the party must have lived in Texas for at least six months prior
to deployment and in the specific county of filing for at least 90 days
to be under Texas jurisdiction.
Once a Petition for Divorce has been filed, it must be personally served
on the non filing party so that they have an opportunity to enter an Answer.
An exception exists for the non filing spouse if they sign a "waiver"
of personal service and have it filed with the court. An important law
to keep in mind is a federal statute known as the Soldiers and Sailors
Civil Relief Act which protects active duty soldiers from having a default
judgment placed against them for failure to respond in time to a Petition
for Divorce. Active duty soldiers and sailors can have divorce proceedings
postponed for the entire length of their deployment as well as an additional
60 days. This right afforded to service members can be waived.
Military retirement benefits is essentially the other area of property
division that differs for military divorces when compared to civilian
divorces. For a dependent spouse to receive any portion or distribution
of military retirement benefits the couple has to have been married for
at least 10 years while the service member was on active duty. The division
of military retirement funds are determined by another federal statute-
the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act.
Finally, when children are at issue in a
child support judgments in Texas are decided according to statutory guidelines with a cap at 60 percent
of the service member's pay. It is important to have an experienced
Texas family law attorney assisting a party to a military divorce in this area specifically, as
a Texas court must have jurisdiction over the children to enter
child support orders.
The nature of
military divorces, while not completely different that those for civilian citizens, is unique.
It would be to the benefit of any person whose spouse is in the military
to consider the advice and counsel of an attorney whose practice deals
in military divorces and the laws that encompass them. The Law Office
of Bryan Fagan is available to consult with you on your particular situation
and to guide you through this process in order so that your rights, and
those of your family, are protected.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Military Divorce Lawyers
If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with a divorce lawyer right away to protect
your rights. Our
military divorce lawyers in Spring Texas are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Tomball, the FM1960 area, or surrounding areas,
including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers,
Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend County and Waller County.