It is no secret that as a military member you are exposed to stressful situations. These are not always the sort of deadline driven, people induce stresses that we as civilians encounter in our jobs, either. Servicemembers encounter stress associated with combat on a regular basis while on deployment.
That stress can be long-lasting and can effect your ability to transition into civilian life and as a parent. Being away from your family only exacerbates these stresses and creates a difficult situation for you and your family once you return home to Texas.
Unfortunately we see that servicemembers, upon their return to the United States, experience higher than average rates of unemployment- often times caused by the stresses that have been taken home from those overseas deployments. Anxiety and post-traumatic stress can lead you to experience life differently than you did before. Learning how to parent your child and live with a spouse or significant other after being away for an extended period of time is a real concern.
A reliance on the Veteran’s Administration to properly process and pay out benefits on behalf of veterans puts military members like yourself in a precarious situation if you are responsible for paying a monthly child support amount. If you are unable to find work you will become dependent on the Veteran’s Administration to pay out timely benefits so that you do not fall behind.
However, if you have to wait over a year to receive them (which many veterans do) this causes you to be in a bad position when it comes to your child support payments. The last thing you need is your ex-spouse or child’s other parent to file a child support enforcement case against you based on your failure to timely pay your child support.
We discussed in yesterday’s blog post the importance of handling any child support or child custody situation prior to being deployed overseas. One of the reasons is because if you have experience a change in your pay (usually a decrease) you find it difficult to pay the previously ordered child support amount if you have less money to do so than you previously did.
Having to scrimp and save money in order to pay child support is a daily reality for veterans. If you find yourself needing to have your child support obligation adjusted downward because of the loss of a job or your inability to find work once you return to the States you should consider speaking to a family law attorney immediately.
Your situation will not improve on its own and will only get worse. If you incur past due child support and debt you will find yourself unable to qualify for housing loans and at worst can result in you facing jail time.
How are military families comprised?
As a parent serving in the military, you have likely spoken to and confided in other members of the military who also find themselves with history in the family law courts in Texas and other states.
Servicemembers can be custodial or noncustodial parents, divorced or never married and have child support cases active in Texas and other states. My point is that within the military you will find that there is a wide array of family situations that require advice and expertise in this area of the law.
Like most problems that you encounter in life, sweeping the issues under the rug will not eliminate them. In fact, your situation is likely to worsen the more you put it off.
While nobody wants to deal with unpleasant situations you have assistance available to you through local attorneys and through programs that assist veterans in finding legal help. Our office would be honored to speak to you about your problems but you need to take the first step and reach out to be able to take advantage of these resources.
To conclude today’s blog post, let’s discuss some concerns that I have encountered from having spoken to many different military members like yourself.
Concerns related to time spent parenting
Every parent wants to be able to spend as much time as possible with their child. If you are a military parent who is a noncustodial parent (the one with whom your child does not reside with primarily) this is even more true for you.
Time is a precious commodity and is not one that you will want to waste. When you are back in the country or available to see your child you want to be able to do so without any issues.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of reasons why you could find yourself unable to see your child as regularly as your child custody order allows. If your child’s other parent is not willing to work with you on an alteration to your visitation schedule then you are at his or her mercy to see your child when your breaks from military service align with the visitation schedule in your order. It is perfectly understandable for you to be frustrated with the system and to want to resolve issues related to time with your children.
Co-parenting can be especially difficult for you as a military member. Ideally, you will be able to work with your child’s other parent to make sure that your child support commitments are met and to ensure that you are able to visit with your child as frequently as time permits. Unfortunately, you are not always able to create time to see your child or to see your child according to the orders from your previous family law case.
In this situation, your co-parenting skills will need to be well-formed in order to make sure your child’s other parent is aware of any issues upcoming regarding visitation and child support.
Concerns related to child support
Whether you are a custodial or noncustodial parent, you may have questions regarding child support. If you are the parent with whom your child lives with primarily you may have questions regarding how to establish child support.
If you have not been receiving assistance from your child’s other parent then you should get him or her on board with helping you to pay the expenses associated with parenting your child.
On the other hand, you may find yourself in the position of needing to modify a prior child support order due to your income has decreased because of a change in rank, status or station in the military.
This occurs if you were receiving a higher living allowance at a prior station and now find yourself perhaps with more salary but significantly less pay overall because of the housing/subsistence allowance decrease.
If you are able to, make sure that you work with your child’s other parent on issues related to child support. While you cannot be expected to attend court hearings related to enforcing a child support order while you are deployed overseas it is not uncommon to return to the United States and be served with paperwork detailing a lawsuit filed to collect back child support. While your inability to pay puts your child’s other parent in a difficult spot you can attempt to prevent a lawsuit by being up front early with him or her.
The HEROES program detailed in tomorrow’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The State of Texas has established a program to assist military servicemembers with their family law problems. Known as Help Establishing Responsive Orders Ensuring Support (HEROES) for children in military families, it is assistance that I believe more servicemembers and veterans ought to know about. Tomorrow we will discuss this program in detail.
In the meantime, if you have questions for an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We offer free of charge consultations with a licensed family law attorney six days a week. It would be an honor to speak to you about your circumstances and to address any questions you have about family law in Texas. We represent clients across the State in family law cases and are confident we could do so you and your family as well.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- The division of military benefits in a Texas Divorce
- Military Divorces: Essential knowledge for Texas residents
- The United States Supreme Court Answers a Question about Military Retirement Benefits
- Military Divorces in Texas
- Essential Information for Military Divorces in Texas
- Military Support Without a Court Order During a Divorce in Texas
- How to Divorce a Spouse in the Military
- Texas Divorce - Serving Military Personnel or their Spouse Worldwide
- Texas Statute Aids Military Personnel and Their Spouses in Filing for Divorce
- Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
- How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees in a Texas Divorce?
- How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
- Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston Texas Military Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Houston Texas military Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
A military divorce lawyer in Houston TX is 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 Military Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.