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Challenges Facing Military Families: Deployment and Station Reassignment

If you are a service member, you have likely been reassigned to a new station at least once. This change in “home base” or types of deployment in military often comes with a change in pay. Military pay is based on the rank that you have earned. It also comes with a small allowance for housing and food.

It would be rare for your pay to be decreased. However, I have seen even small increases go towards a modification in child support. In such, you can be taken to court if your child’s other parent believes that the pay increase justifies an increase in your monthly child support obligation.

While your pay may not decrease, the allowance for housing, utilities, and other necessities may decrease. Taken together, your overall income may see a slight decrease every month. Over a year, this puts a strain on your ability to pay your child support obligation moving forward. In this scenario, you may need to file a modification request. This is to reduce the obligation, especially if you’re moving to an area with a higher cost of living. You should be aware of your rights within the Texas legal system.

Specific Challenges Associated With Deployment

We’ve been discussing the challenges servicemembers face when ordered to relocate across the state or country. What happens if you have been deployed across the globe? With conflicts ongoing worldwide, hundreds of thousands of servicemembers have been deployed to those locations. If you are a parent, such types of deployment in military can be complicated.

Changing stations in the United States can lead to problems such as pay changes, separation from children, and challenges in making scheduled court appearances. All of these factors come into play when you are deployed as well. While deployment is only a temporary change in your life, the notice you are provided before moving can be concise. This leaves you little time to prepare for the move and to be able to take steps to prepare.

If you have child support or child custody issues before your move, it’s crucial to understand and take action for your and your child’s benefit. Save money for an attorney and have a game plan to file a case and go to court promptly before any type of deployment in military.

Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act

When you are living abroad, you will not attend court hearings. This is among the more clear statements that you will read today. As a result, you are at a disadvantage when it comes to having your issues addressed by a court.

Fortunately, there are protections for active-duty service members like yourself. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a law that protects those who are actively serving in all types of deployment in military.. The SCRA protects you against default judgments. This means a judgment cannot be taken against you solely for failing to respond to a lawsuit or appear in court.

Family Care Plans

Before leaving the country, you should have a Family Care Plan outlined in a court order. This plan addresses your visitation and possession time with your children while you are abroad or unable to exercise your possession periods.

Your child’s other parent must cooperate because this plan may differ from a standard possession order. Infrequent weekend visitation won’t be suitable, as you’ll want more time with your kids when you return to the States. Often, you won’t have advance notice of your return.

As the custodial parent, your situation can be challenging upon your return from deployment. Relatives may have taken on a larger caregiving role in your absence, and your child may have grown accustomed to this. Your time away and increased stress levels can affect your parenting abilities.

Slow-Moving Courts Make Life Difficult for Active-Duty Servicemembers

As we touched on earlier in this blog post, you need to resolve any child support or child custody issues before your being deployed.

Unfortunately, our legal system is not known for its quickness or efficiency in handling family law cases. If your case is complex, this goes double for you and your situation. Despite the challenges associated with time, it is always best to sort these issues out before going abroad. Your readiness as a servicemember is essential to a successful mission for you and your team.

Establishing Paternity

Suppose you are a military parent who is in a situation where you need to establish paternity of your child (either for yourself or your child’s other parent). In that case, you will also want to have this handled efficiently. If you and your child’s other parent were never married, then your child will not have a legal father until one is established through the courts. Health insurance benefits, death benefits, and survivor benefits are not available to a child through their deceased father until he is legally declared as such.

An Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) is the most straightforward and common way for unmarried fathers to have themselves be declared as the legal father of a child. You do so voluntarily under these circumstances and can even sign the form before your child is born. This is not something that many parents know, however, and even if you did know how to access the form and where to submit it once complete is another matter altogether.

A Note on Those Persons in the Military Reserves

On top of active-duty servicemembers and veterans, a high percentage of military members are also members of various reserve units. As members of the National Guard, you will leave your regular job and receive payment for your service through the government when your unit is activated.

This causes problems if you are responsible for child support payments. You must take the step to contact the Office of The Attorney General (OAG) in Texas and let them know about your change in payor. Your wages must be garnished to ensure that no missed child support payments occur. If you fail to do so, you will accrue missed payments that can cause you to fall behind in your payment history.

Tomorrow’s Blog Post Topics: Stress, Unemployment, and General Concerns of Military Families

If you’re a member of the armed services, we invite you to revisit our website tomorrow. Explore our series on military families and their unique family law challenges to gain valuable insights for your life.

If you are a service member, you have likely been reassigned to a new station at least once. This change in “home base” or types of deployment in military often comes with a change in pay. Military pay is based on the rank that you have earned. It also comes with a small allowance for housing and food.

It would be rare for your pay to be decreased. However, I have seen even small increases go towards a modification in child support. In such, you can be taken to court if your child’s other parent believes that the pay increase justifies an increase in your monthly child support obligation.

While your pay may not decrease, the allowance for housing, utilities, and other necessities may decrease. Taken together, your overall income may see a slight decrease every month. Over a year, this puts a strain on your ability to pay your child support obligation moving forward. In this scenario, you may need to file a modification request. This is to reduce the obligation, especially if you’re moving to an area with a higher cost of living. You should be aware of your rights within the Texas legal system.

If you have questions about family law in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free consultations with licensed family law attorneys six days a week. If you cannot meet with us in person, we offer consultations via phone and Skype.

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