The life of a person who serves in our military is already very unique. If you can’t find yourself among our military members, you understand what service and commitment are about. You have chosen to take our life that will not be entirely your own for some time. You are asked to take on responsibility and perform duties that many of us would be unwilling to. Challenge ourselves with. I think it is fair to say that military members are cut from a different cloth than are civilians. However, that does not mean that members of the military in our country do not have problems in their lives just like the rest of us do.
Being in the military during a pandemic can be a nerve-wracking time for a family. While your employment status may not be in jeopardy like many civilians, if a child custody case or divorce confronts you, you still have to answer many questions that are unique to you and your circumstances. As with any person going through a complex family law case, I would always recommend that you inquire and look into hiring legal representation. Your events are not simple to the point where self-representation Is a real possibility.
No matter where you read this blog post, the simple truth is that being in the military will not allow you to put a divorce off forever. Even if you are away from home and your spouse is back in the Houston area, they may file for divorce without your being in the area. This may be a difficult concept for you to stomach right now, but it is the truth, and there is nothing legally preventing them from doing so. The best you can do is prepare yourself for what is to come.
I want to discuss what a military divorce looks like and what specific factors you need to be aware of in your type of case. Then, after today’s blog post, I will spend a little bit of time discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic can play into an impact on your case. However, I think the unique factors of a military divorce would be in play at any time. Are the most relevant circumstances for us to discuss, to begin with. 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 for a free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys.
The basics of military divorce In Texas
I think it bears mentioning that people like yourself who are enlisted in our country’s Armed Services have a much more rigorous and demanding life than most civilians. The stresses associated with being deployed and being away from your family for long periods can wreak havoc on a family dynamic and a marriage. As a result, it would not take much Internet research for you to learn that military families go through divorces at reasonably high rates. This does not speak to the nature of family circumstances or the character of the persons involved but rather to the overall stresses and hardships that military families go through on behalf of our nation.
When a person files for divorce in Texas and is a resident of our state, it is only the laws of Texas that will most likely impact that divorce. The Texas family code contains provisions and statutes regarding divorce and how a legal system like ours can and a marriage between two persons. Well, federal regulations govern Topics like dividing up certain types of retirement accounts; it is more likely that the state of Texas laws regarding divorce will manage just about every aspect of the rest of your case for a reasonably straightforward, typical civilian divorce in our state.
On the other hand, military divorces involve both state law and federal law. When you are determining where a divorce should be filed, for instance, then you should be aware that Texas is a proper venue and would have jurisdiction over your case even if you and your spouse have not lived here for some time. If you all considered a Texas home, you might file for divorce in the County In Texas where you had previously primary residents and plan to return in the future. This can surprise some people served with divorce papers from Texas, but you have not lived here for some time.
Military retirement benefits- what do you need to know?
Beyond serving one’s country and standing up for what you believe in, one of the key reasons many people choose to do in our military is the structure and stability that the military provides for service members and their families. Whether you think of it as a job or not, serving in the military is a place of employment for you. You derive your income from military service and accrue benefits for health and retirement through serving in the military. As a result, in a divorce situation, your military benefits are an issue that you need to keep in mind in that you and your attorney need to keep your focus on.
Whether or not your spouse will have the ability to gain a portion of your military pension during the divorce depends on many factors. Maybe the most significant of us factors is the length of your marriage. If you and your spouse have only been married for a relatively short time, then it is likely that your military pension will not be divisible in the divorce. This is different from civilian Divorces, where even a brief marriage can divide a retirement plan.
Can your spouse take advantage of the fact that you are in the military in the divorce?
One thing that you can count on is that while your spouse can file a divorce while you are serving the country in the military, the case cannot begin until you are discharged from your duties. The servicemembers civil relief act protects you from a divorce being initiated without your knowledge. It prevents default judgments from being entered against you if you do not respond to a divorce petition Within the allotted time. At the same time, many people get divorced while in the military; this law prevents a divorce from proceeding unless you waive its protections and agree to proceed.
Where could your divorce be based when you are in the military?
As I mentioned a moment ago, you may have questions about where divorce could be started if you or your spouse wanted to file due to your and your family’s mobility. Would you need to file your divorce in the area where you are currently stationed in the United States or file for divorce in Houston, Where you consider yourself at home?
The general rule for civilians is that to file for divorce in Texas; you need to be a resident of the city of Texas for six months. You were preceding your filing in a resident of the County where you would file for three months before your filing. This is the way that your home County acquires jurisdiction over your case and would allow for your chance to proceed in their courts.
Given that you are in the military, this is a requirement that you likely do not meet. Military members move with great frequency, and as a result, you may not have a settled home, or if you do feel like you have a home, then a move may be necessitated by your service in just a few years. The law in Texas is that if you are a military member, you can still file for divorce in this state even if you are not living in Texas currently.
How do you divide up community assets in a divorce?
The key to understanding the issue of dividing up a pension for military spouses is that your marriage must have lasted for at least ten years for your military pension to be an issue in your divorce. If your wedding has less than ten years, your pension cannot be divided in the divorce. This means that your spouse would not be able to receive direct payments from your military pension. Keep in mind that your ten years of marriage must also be concurrent with ten years of military service. So, if you have been married for ten years but have only been in the military for seven of those ten years, your spouse would not be able to get your pension in a divorce.
When it comes to other issues regarding the property division in your divorce, the Community property laws of Texas will apply. All property acquired during your marriage is presumed to be Community property apps and other evidence. This means that property, real estate, personal property, and debts are all considered part of the community estate if you and your spouse acquired them during your marriage. Primarily, proceeding with the divorce when you are not your home in Texas is crucial for you to have representation to guide you on how best to negotiate the division of these assets and debts.
One aspect of Community property that I can think of that is unique for military members is that you need to ensure that your property is maintained during your divorce. Therefore, I would work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that temporary orders are put into place that restricts the responsibility to tamper with or remove any property in your family home. Given that you cannot readily protect your property or even Account for much of it, this is critical for you.
Considerations for military families going through a divorce in the era of COVID-19
in my opinion, if you are a military member going through a divorce right now, then your primary concern should be with the health and safety of your children and your family. I cannot speak to any specific changes that military members on deployment are undergoing currently. Still, I would imagine that with so much up in the air regarding plans that you may not know exactly where you will be in the next couple of years.
If this is the case, you should consider hiring a family law attorney who can help you negotiate through uncertainty regarding where you will be physically located over the next few years. This is especially important if you have children. We’ll need to arrange for and create flexible visitation structures that allow you to take advantage of all the time you can with your children While ensuring that you can fulfill your duties to our military.
Overall, this time is not one where you should necessarily shy away from filing for divorce. Yes, there are challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as closing many courts and the inability to have in-person hearings quickly in uncontested matters. However, given that you are likely not reading this blog post from Texas, your divorce would have been one conducted virtually for the most part anyway. With that said, if you have an experienced attorney, fireside Inn is knowledgeable about the issues facing you and your family. I wouldn’t tell you that this time is any worse than any other to file for divorce in Texas.
Questions about military divorces in Texas? 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 family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video, where we can answer your questions and address your specific concerns.
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.