Book an appointment using SetMore

Divorcing your spouse while serving in the military abroad

Ahoy, dear readers! Picture this: you're not in Kansas anymore, and you've got more stripes on your sleeve than you've got socks in your closet. Yes, we're talking about our beloved military personnel facing that uniquely challenging rollercoaster—military divorce. But hold onto your helmets and helmets onto your heartstrings, because we've got a military divorce checklist that's going to make you feel like you've got a GPS guiding you through this uncharted territory.

Short Answer: Can a military divorce be smoother than butter on hot toast? You bet it can! With our comprehensive checklist, we're breaking down the challenges and complexities of military divorces while serving abroad. From legal hoops to emotional loops, we're here to arm you with all the intel you need.

So, why hit the brakes here? Because if you're in the military and facing divorce while stationed miles away from home sweet home, you've got questions unlike any other wannabe ex-spouse. You're not alone—heck, we're right there with you! Grab your coffee (or tea, if you're fancy), and let's dive into a checklist that'll make your military divorce journey a tad less bumpy and a whole lot more navigable. Ready? Let's roll!

Reasons to Keep Reading:

  1. Legal Odyssey Ahead: Unravel the unique legal challenges that crop up when saying goodbye to the uniform and hello to singlehood, including a sneak peek at the enigmatic Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
  2. No Passport, No Problem: Discover how child custody and visitation play out when you're globe-trotting for Uncle Sam, all while keeping those parent-child connections intact.
  3. Savings and Security, Ahoy!: Dive deep into the impact of divorce on your military benefits, retirement plans, and more, with a touch of spotlight on the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).
  4. Active Duty Drama: Get the lowdown on how deployment and active duty can tango with your divorce proceedings—temporary custody arrangements and all.
  5. Global Jurisdiction Puzzle: Travel through the twisty lanes of international jurisdiction, figuring out how court orders can span continents, and the not-so-fun surprises that tag along.
  6. Message in a Time Zone Bottle: Crack the code of communicating and sharing paperwork when one half of your divorce is stationed on the other side of the world. Spoiler alert: tech is your sidekick.
  7. Warriors Need Backup: Embrace the cavalry of support networks and resources designed exclusively for you, from military family life consultants to legal assistance offices.
  8. Culture Shock 101: Dance your way through cultural and legal mazes abroad, and pick up a tip or two for steering through foreign legal systems.
  9. Kumbaya Resolutions: Unearth the magic of alternative dispute resolution methods, and why they might just be your ticket to an amicable divorce.
  10. You Matter Too: Tap into strategies for maintaining your emotional and psychological well-being, because you deserve some self-love amid the chaos.
  11. Docs, Stamps, and All That Jazz: Master the logistical acrobatics of gathering documents, notarizing papers, and navigating the paperwork jungle while on international duty.
  12. Across the Miles: Plot your course for crafting long-distance parenting plans that ensure your parent-child bond stays unbreakable, even if oceans apart.

So, fasten your seatbelts, comrades-in-arms, because we're about to embark on a journey where legal labyrinths and emotional rollercoasters await. Let's conquer the twists and turns of military divorce together!

Buckle Up! Navigating Military Divorce: Your Ultimate Checklist

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.

Navigating Military Divorce: A Comprehensive Checklist

Divorcing while serving in the military can be a complex and challenging journey. From legal intricacies to emotional well-being, a military divorce demands careful consideration and planning. In this article, we'll walk you through a comprehensive checklist, addressing the unique challenges service members encounter during this process. Let's dive in!

Legal Challenges Specific to Military Divorces

Military divorces come with their own set of legal challenges. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) plays a significant role, potentially affecting divorce proceedings. Understanding how this act influences your divorce is crucial, as it provides protections for service members, including temporary suspension of legal proceedings during active duty.

Child Custody and Visitation for Military Parents

Serving abroad adds an extra layer of complexity to child custody and visitation arrangements. Navigating how to maintain meaningful parent-child relationships despite geographical distance is vital. The court will consider the best interests of the child while ensuring both parents are involved, even if stationed far away.

Impact on Military Benefits and Retirement

Divorce can impact various aspects of military benefits, including retirement plans, pensions, and survivor benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) outlines how military pensions can be divided upon divorce. Understanding these implications is essential to ensure a fair distribution of assets.


Impact on Military Benefits and Retirement

Military Benefits

- Division of benefits like healthcare, commissary access, and housing allowances may change after divorce.

- Eligibility for certain benefits might shift, affecting both the service member and their family.

- Explore how divorce can impact survivor benefits for your spouse or children.

Retirement Plans

- Delve into the complexities of dividing military pensions and retirement plans equitably.

- Understand how the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) comes into play.

- Plan for the long-term financial implications of a changed retirement landscape.

Pensions and Survivor Benefits

- Discover how a divorce might affect your pension's distribution and survivor benefits for your ex-spouse.

Financial Stability

- Consider the broader financial implications of a divorce, including budgeting and managing changed financial circumstances.

Legal Assistance

- Consult legal experts to ensure that you're navigating the financial intricacies of divorce correctly.

Future Planning

- Strategize how to rebuild your financial future after the dust settles, including adjusting investment plans or seeking new employment opportunities.

Deployment and Divorce Proceedings

Deployments or active duty service can affect divorce proceedings in terms of timing and logistics. Temporary custody arrangements during deployment might be necessary, and staying informed while abroad is crucial. Despite the challenges, it's important to keep communication lines open to ensure a smooth process.

International Jurisdiction and Enforcement

Navigating jurisdiction issues can be complex when divorcing internationally. The recognition and enforcement of court orders across borders can pose challenges. Understanding how international treaties and agreements impact your case is essential for a successful divorce process.

Communication and Documentation Challenges

When one spouse is stationed overseas, communicating and exchanging legal documents can be daunting. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning and creative solutions. Utilizing technology, timely communication, and legal assistance can help streamline the process.

Support Networks and Resources for Military Divorces

Military personnel and their families have access to a variety of support networks and resources. Military family life consultants and legal assistance offices can provide guidance throughout the divorce process. Seeking emotional and legal support can significantly ease the journey.

Cultural and Legal Differences Abroad

Dealing with foreign legal systems and cultural differences can add complexity to an already challenging process. Navigating these differences requires adaptability and understanding. Additionally, obtaining a recognized divorce decree in a foreign country may require extra steps and considerations.

Alternative Dispute Resolution for Military Divorces

Consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and collaborative divorce. These approaches offer service members the chance to amicably resolve divorce issues outside of court. They can be particularly beneficial when dealing with international complexities.

Emotional and Psychological Well-being

Divorce can take a toll on service members' emotional and psychological well-being, especially when stationed abroad. Seeking counseling or mental health support is essential to navigate the emotional challenges that come with divorce and deployment simultaneously.

Logistical Considerations

Managing administrative tasks during a military divorce while serving overseas requires careful planning. Gathering necessary documents, obtaining notarizations, and staying organized are crucial steps in the process. Utilize available resources to ensure a smooth logistical journey.

Long-Distance Parenting Plans

Creating effective long-distance parenting plans is essential for maintaining strong parent-child relationships. Factor in visitation schedules, communication methods, and maintaining parental roles despite geographical separation.

Navigating a military divorce involves addressing a multitude of challenges unique to service members. By embracing these considerations and seeking appropriate support, you can ensure a smoother transition into the next chapter of your life. Remember, staying informed and seeking assistance when needed can make a significant difference in the outcome of your military divorce journey.

Strap In, Warriors! Wrapping Up Your Military Divorce Expedition

Alrighty, brave souls, we've covered more ground than a tank battalion on a mission. From SCRA surprises to transcontinental custody conundrums, we've dived deep into the wild waters of military divorce. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and our checklist journey is no exception.

Short Answer: Is military divorce a puzzle you've been handed without the box cover? Fear not! Our comprehensive checklist has been your GPS through the legal, emotional, and logistical battleground.

So, here's the part where you might be thinking, "What now?" First off, pat yourself on the back. You've armed yourself with knowledge that'll rival any field manual. But remember, we're here to guide, not to leave you hanging like a forgotten MRE in the back of a supply closet.

Picture this: You, standing on the brink of a new chapter, armed with a military divorce roadmap that'll make navigating this terrain feel like a leisurely stroll in the park. You've got a handle on international twists, custody loops, and benefits brouhahas. Heck, you're practically a legal eagle now!

And now, my fellow navigators, the real adventure begins. Armed with the insights you've gained, the next steps are yours to shape. Consult legal experts who can fine-tune your strategy, lean on those support networks we've uncovered, and remember that self-care is just as essential as crossing your 't's and dotting your 'i's.

So, don't be a stranger! Whenever you feel like the compass is spinning out of control, come back to this checklist—it's your ever-reliable North Star. And just like military training, practice makes perfect. Take each item on this checklist, learn it, and then conquer it.

In the grand symphony of life, military divorce is but a single note, and you, my friend, are the conductor of your own destiny. With your newfound knowledge and a dash of courage, you're ready to set sail into calmer waters. So remember, it's okay to ask for help, to seek advice, and most importantly, to honor your journey.

The countdown to a smoother military divorce starts now. Armed with this checklist, you're not just facing a challenge—you're taking it on like the warrior you are. Until next time, keep your chin up, your heart strong, and your checklist at the ready. Over and out!

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore


Adobe Stock 62844981[2]If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: "16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce"

Divorce Wasting Assets[4] If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: "13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them" Today!"

Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. The division of military benefits in a Texas Divorce
  2. The division of military benefits in a Texas Divorce, Part Two
  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. Can You Date While Being Separated in the Military?
  10. Is a Military Spouse Entitled to BAH?
  11. Can I Keep My Military ID Card After a Divorce?
  12. Will I Lose My Ex's Military Retirement If I Remarry?
  13. How Long Do You Have To Be Married in the Military to Get Alimony?

Frequently Asked Questions about Military Divorce

Fill Out To Watch Now!

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.