How to Divorce a Spouse in the Military

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC recently received a distressing phone call that shed light on the complexities of military divorces. The caller was the spouse of an active duty member of the armed services, currently stationed in Europe with their children. Unfortunately, they found themselves in the unfortunate situation of seeking a military divorce. While the process of divorcing a spouse who is in the military shares similarities with a civilian divorce, there are significant differences that warrant closer examination.

Determining Jurisdiction: A Unique Challenge

One of the primary considerations in a military divorce is determining the appropriate jurisdiction for filing. Unlike civilian divorces, where the filing typically occurs in the state where the couple resides, military divorces have unique jurisdictional rules. The determining factor is where either party considers their domicile to be. If either spouse considers Texas their permanent home, with the intention of returning there after completing their deployment, they may file for divorce in Texas. However, it’s important to note that standard jurisdictional laws still apply.

The party filing for divorce 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 fall under Texas jurisdiction. This requirement ensures that the court has the necessary authority to handle the divorce proceedings and make decisions regarding property division, child custody, and support.

Serving the Petition for Divorce: Special Considerations

You must personally serve the Petition for Divorce on the non-filing party once you file it. This ensures that the non-filing spouse has an opportunity to respond by entering an Answer. However, an exception exists for the non-filing spouse. However, the non-filing spouse can avoid service by signing and filing a “waiver” of personal service with the court.

It is crucial to keep in mind a federal statute known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, which protects active duty soldiers from default judgments if they fail to respond promptly to a Petition for Divorce. Active duty soldiers and sailors have the right to postpone divorce proceedings for the entire duration of their deployment, plus an additional 60 days. However, service members can choose to waive this right if they wish.

Division of Military Retirement Benefits: Unique Considerations

Another significant difference in military divorces is the division of military retirement benefits. This area of property division differs from civilian divorces and requires careful consideration. Importantly, a Texas court must have jurisdiction over the children to issue child support orders.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, a federal statute, outlines how to divide military retirement funds. Understanding the intricacies of this law is crucial to ensure a fair and equitable division of assets during the divorce proceedings.

Child Support Considerations: Protecting the Best Interests of Children

In military divorces involving children, Texas statutory guidelines govern child support judgments, capping them at 60 percent of the service member’s pay. Importantly, a Texas court must have jurisdiction over the children to issue child support orders. However, it’s important to note that a Texas court must have jurisdiction over the children in order to enter child support orders. This aspect of military divorces necessitates the expertise of an experienced Texas family law attorney who specializes in military divorces.

Such attorneys can handle the complexities of child support calculations and help protect the children’s best interests They can also assist in establishing a parenting plan that takes into account the unique challenges of military service, such as deployment schedules and relocation.

The Need for Specialized Knowledge and Experience

While military divorces share some similarities with divorces involving civilian citizens, they possess unique characteristics that require specialized knowledge and experience. Individuals divorcing military spouses should seek counsel from attorneys specializing in military divorces familiar with the relevant laws.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is available to provide consultation and support for those facing the challenges of military divorces. Engaging a knowledgeable attorney ensures the protection of your rights and those of your family throughout the divorce process. Their expertise and guidance can offer peace of mind during this difficult time.


Military divorces present unique challenges and require a comprehensive understanding of the legal nuances involved. Jurisdiction, military retirement benefits, and child support complexities demand a specialized attorney’s expertise.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC tackles the unique challenges of military divorces. They offer customized legal services. Their team knows military divorce laws inside and out, guiding clients while protecting their rights and family interests.

Facing a military divorce? Seek a qualified attorney’s help. Their expertise can lead you through the maze with confidence, towards a fair outcome for a brighter future.


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  2. Essential Information for Military Divorces in Texas
  3. Military Support Without a Court Order During a Divorce in Texas
  4. How to Divorce a Spouse in the Military
  5. Texas Divorce – Serving Military Personnel or their Spouse Worldwide
  6. Texas Statute Aids Military Personnel and Their Spouses in Filing for Divorce
  7. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  8. How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney’s Fees in a Texas Divorce?
  9. How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
  10. Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?
  11. Do military couples marry faster than other couples?
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  13. How VA Benefits are impacted in a Texas divorce


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