Texas is a big state. Texas is a state with a lot of people living here. Stop me before I tell you something you already knew. Fort Hood is one of the largest military installations in the country. Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio is the site of all basic training for our Airwomen.
If you are an active-duty servicemember or veteran, thank you for your service first of all. We are all indebted to you for your service to our nation and the defense of our freedoms. I can tell you all are reading this blog post for a family law office that many servicemembers are also involved in active family law cases in Texas and other states.
Family law cases that involve active-duty servicemembers and veterans are among the most complex that a family law attorney will ever encounter. Child support cases, for instance, often see orders from multiple states that need to be reconciled. People file for modifications and enforcement in Texas before knowing if Texas has jurisdiction over their case. If this sounds like a situation you can relate to, stay tuned for the rest of this week as we discuss family law cases about military service members.
Another part of having a family law case that can be especially difficult for our military members is that many of you live great distances from your children.
A family law attorney in Texas will tell you that the rules for possession and visitation of your child are different depending on whether or not you live within 100 miles of your children. If you live more than 100 miles apart, your ability to see your children is likely limited due to the distance that you must travel. Imagine being an upset parent facing a child support enforcement case. The fact that you only rarely get to see your children must add to the frustration you are feeling due to the family lawsuit that has been filed against you.
Owing back child support is an issue that we have found to be a relevant one for veterans- especially young veterans. Younger veterans, on average, have a more challenging time finding work than their civilian counterparts. Couple this with having less education and their increased likelihood of owing child support, and you have a situation where the difficulty to meet child support responsibilities are coming back to bite them.
Can you relate to the sort of picture I’ve painted regarding a veteran or service member who has run into some challenging circumstances and owes back child support to your child’s other parent? If so, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, would like to help you. Today’s blog post will touch on this subject to provide you with more information on resources and options to help you resolve any issues in your life related to child support and child custody.
Military service members are pulled in multiple directions all at once
Consider that as a service member or veteran, you are likely being pulled in multiple directions all at the same time. Your commitment to your occupation, country, family, children, and any other commitments that you have all take up your time.
Couple this with child support payments and other financial obligations, and you are in an unenviable position as far as commitments to your time and money. Add onto all of this the fact that your job is incredibly stressful, and you have a perfect combination for feeling like there is no escape from the difficulties of life, family, and work.
Specifically, there are challenges that you may be facing regarding the length of your deployments, stress related to service in the military, employment after the military, and the problems associated with having to move and relocate frequently. With all of these factors flying at you (sometimes all at the same time), it is no wonder that child support payments and legal issues are not at the top of the list of your concerns. While active-duty servicemembers often have assistance provided through the military, there may not be specific assistance for your particular needs.
Problems associated with relocation
Annual relocation is a reality for a high percentage of active-duty servicemembers. Often, the relocation associated with your military responsibilities is not just across town or across the state, but the country or even across the globe.
What causes military relocation to be different than civilian relocation is that in the military, you are not given a choice in some instances of whether or not you would like to move. Your moving is a part of your duties, and you must do so without regard to your opinion on the subject. With the move comes problems associated with your ability to parent your children from a distance.
If you have gone to court previously and have had child support orders created, you likely know your monthly child support obligation. It is based on a percentage of your net monthly income that you earn from the military. If your pay has changed due to earning a new rank or taking a new position, you may find yourself in a position where it is more difficult to pay that monthly child support obligation. If your pay increases, your child’s other parent may well take you to court to modify and increase the child support obligation that you pay.
Being an active-duty servicemember, it is likely that your children do not reside with you primarily. Given this fact, you have to incur increased costs to travel to see your children however often your court orders allow. This might be an adjustment for you if you were used to seeing your children as frequently as you would like when you were stationed closer to home. We have already discussed how changes in pay can affect your ability to pay child support.
Even in situations where you have an order in place that guarantees you a particular amount of possession time with your children each year, your ability to take advantage of that time can be hindered due to your service and being stationed a great distance from your kids. If you are training away from home and are not on a “normal” schedule, you may not be able to see your kids during the exact times prescribed to you in your orders. This results in you having to either negotiate for alternate times with your child’s other parent or losing out altogether on visitation opportunities.
Are you in a position where you can afford to pay for a hotel room for you and your children? The children of military service members cannot stay in barracks with you, so this or another arrangement must be reached to have your children stay close by while you are stationed away from “home.”
These increased costs are in addition to child support obligations that need to be met regardless of your circumstances within the military. If you are stationed in another state, you may run into a situation where you have multiple states’ child support orders vying for your attention. Wherever the initial order was created from or where your children reside is likely the state with jurisdiction over your situation.
More on how changes in where you are stationed and active-duty deployments cause life to be difficult for servicemembers
I hope that today’s blog post has been exciting and enlightening for you to read through. Please come back tomorrow to learn more about how life as a parent and servicemember can present problems for families.
If you have any questions about the subject matter we presented today, 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. It would be an honor to sit down with you to answer questions and address how our office can provide you and your family with assistance during difficult times.