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Stress Related to Combat and its effect on a military member's ability to parent their children

It is no secret that you are exposed to stressful situations as a military member. These are not always the sort of deadline-driven; people induce stresses that we as civilians encounter in our jobs, either. Servicemembers experience stress associated with combat regularly while on deployment.

That stress can be long-lasting and can affect your ability to transition into civilian life and as a parent. Being away from your family only exacerbates these stresses and creates a problematic 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 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 is a genuine concern.

Reliance on the Veteran's Administration to properly process and payout benefits on behalf of veterans put military members like yourself in a precarious situation if you are responsible for paying a monthly child support amount. If you cannot 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 wrong position regarding 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.

In yesterday's blog post, We discussed the importance of handling any child support or child custody situation before being deployed overseas. One of the reasons is because if you have experienced 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 once did.

Having to scrimp and save money to pay child support is a daily reality for veterans. 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. It would be best if you considered 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, it 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 a wide array of family situations that require advice and expertise in this area of the law.

Like most problems you encounter in life, sweeping the issues under the rug will not eliminate them. 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 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 spend as much time as possible with their child. If you are a military parent who is noncustodial (the one with whom your child does not reside 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 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. Suppose your child's other parent is not willing to work with you to alter your visitation schedule. In that case, you are at their 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 want to resolve time issues 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's support commitments are met and to ensure that you can visit with your child as frequently as time permits. Unfortunately, you cannot always 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 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 primarily, you may have questions regarding establishing child support.

If you have not been receiving assistance from your child's other parent, you should get them on board with helping you 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 received 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 can, 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 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 upfront early with them.

The HEROES program is detailed in tomorrow's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

The State of Texas has established a program to assist military service members 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 service members 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, PLLC. We offer free consultations with a licensed family law attorney six days a week. It would be an honor to speak to you about your circumstances and address any questions about family law in Texas. We represent clients across the State in family law cases and are confident we could do so for you and your family as well.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed estate planning and probate attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn about the world of probate law and how the filing of a probate case may impact your family circumstances.

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