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Divorcing your spouse while serving in the military abroad

If you are serving in the military and live thousands of miles away from your home in Texas, you probably have questions that differ from other people who are also considering a divorce from their spouse. In deciding to pursue a divorce, you are making a decision that will impact your life and your family's lives. Wanting to have as much information as possible before you take the step of filing for divorce is a smart move on your part.

Today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, will begin a series of blog posts on this subject. The best way to approach these posts is to pose some common questions that I have encountered from service members with my reply to each.

Where can you get divorced while serving abroad in the military?

You cannot simply go through your branch of the military's legal services department to request a divorce from your spouse. You must go through court to get your divorce, and it is recommended that you hire an attorney to assist you in this regard. You can initially seek advice from whatever legal services are provided to you, but you cannot use that person to get a divorce for you.

In the planning stages of divorce, you can brainstorm a list of property owned by you and your spouse and divide it up hypothetically. This will need to be done in your divorce (known as an inventory and appraisement in Texas) anyways, so it will not hurt to do so ahead of time while you are not paying an attorney's fees.

Regarding where you can file for divorce while not living in the United States, you will need to determine where you and your spouse can claim and prove that you are domiciled. A domicile is your legal home of either you or your spouse- it does not necessarily need to be in the same state.

For instance, if you are registered to vote in Harris County, Texas, pay taxes here, own property, and intend to return after your stay in the military is complete. You are likely domiciled in Harris County. A court in Harris County would probably declare that they have jurisdiction over your divorce despite your not currently residing here.

Be wary of getting a divorce outside of the United States to try to save time and money. You can likely get a piece of paper from some foreign entity declaring you and your spouse as divorced, but it will not be worth the piece of paper that it is printed on. Consider hiring an attorney in the part of Texas that you are domiciled in and working on divorce in that fashion. It will take more time and cost more money, but the result will be a legitimate and legal divorce.

What happens in a divorce?

You may have a general idea of what a divorce is, but you likely have some questions on the subject. This is perfectly natural and not something to be alarmed at. Most people do not research family law in their spare time, especially someone like yourself serving their country abroad. Let's take this opportunity to increase your knowledge of what you seek to accomplish in a divorce and what will occur when your divorce concludes.

First and foremost, the result of a divorce is that you will no longer be legally married to your spouse. This means that as a single person, you can re-marry (after thirty days of getting this divorce), remain single, file taxes as a single person, and can also return to using your married name if granted that request by your family court judge.

In Texas, getting a divorce means that you will have resolved all issues associated with your marriage. Dividing property, child support, child custody, and conservatorship issues will be resolved in a divorce.

Your divorce will either end with you and your spouse attending a trial where a judge will render orders related to these subjects or (more likely) you and your spouse will attend mediation whereby you both settle on these issues before the need to participate in a trial even arises.

How long can you expect a divorce to take?

A divorce in Texas will take at least sixty days. From the date you file your divorce petition until the date a judge can grant you a divorce, you must wait at least sixty days. This is done to allow you and your spouse a "cooling off" period where you can do some soul searching and decide whether or not you want to get a divorce after all.

In all likelihood, your divorce will take between three and six months. It can be shorter (unlikely) or longer (entirely possible) depending on the circumstances involved in your case. Difficult circumstances regarding child custody or property issues can cause a divorce to become a much lengthier process.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse are amenable to working together to resolve your issues, and if those issues are few and far between, your divorce may resolve relatively quickly.

What about saving money a lawyer if you and your spouse do not have children or property?

One common question that servicemembers ask is whether or not an attorney is even necessary for situations where you and your spouse do not own property or have any children together.

There are resources for folks in your position to learn how to do a divorce independently without necessarily hiring an attorney. Indeed, the issues that cause divorces to become prolonged battles deal with children and property.

However, allow me to argue for hiring an attorney despite your not having significant issues regarding property or children. You are keenly aware that you are not living in the United States. Take this stage in your life a step outside where you are reading this blog post and looking down at the ground. That is not the soil of the contiguous United States, Alaska, or Hawaii. You are in a foreign country, and you will not have the benefit of popping into the courthouse where your divorce is filed to check on paperwork or hearing dates.

Such is the advantage of hiring an attorney to help you with your divorce. Yes, an attorney will cost money. Yes, an attorney will want to do things like "talk to you," but they can also make sure that "your military divorce doesn't take two years to complete." Life happens during your divorce. Other things come up that can take your attention away from your divorce.

The nice thing about having an attorney is that their life's work is committed to helping people as you get divorced. That means you are paying them to keep an eye on your case and advise you of changes or upcoming events.

In general, I do not recommend you go about your divorce on your own as a member of the military. Too much goes on in even a "simple" divorce for you to feel confident that you can handle the case on your own. Invest money in a reasonable family law attorney, and the benefit to you and your family will be significantly more than your attorney's fees.

More on getting a divorce while a member of the military in tomorrow's blog post

Please come on back to our website tomorrow to read about how to go about getting a divorce while living abroad in the military. If you have questions on this subject or any other in the field of family law, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. Our licensed family law attorneys will be honored to speak to you about your case over the phone, via Skype, or whatever means is best for you. These consultations are free of charge and can go a long way towards helping you learn about divorce in Texas.


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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. The division of military benefits in a Texas Divorce
  2. Military Divorces: Essential knowledge for Texas residents
  3. The United States Supreme Court Answers a Question about Military Retirement Benefits
  4. Military Divorces in Texas
  5. Essential Information for Military Divorces in Texas
  6. Military Support Without a Court Order During a Divorce in Texas
  7. How to Divorce a Spouse in the Military
  8. Texas Divorce - Serving Military Personnel or their Spouse Worldwide
  9. Texas Statute Aids Military Personnel and Their Spouses in Filing for Divorce
  10. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  11. How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees in a Texas Divorce?
  12. How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
  13. Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?

Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston Texas Military Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's essential to speak with a 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 the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, 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.

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