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How does being a military family impact your child custody case in Texas?

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 Airmen and 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 defense of our freedoms. For the purposes of a family law office, I can tell you all reading this blog post that many servicemembers are also parents who are 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 supportcases, for instance, often see orders from multiple states that need to be reconciled. People file for modifications and enforcement in Texas before they even know if Texas has jurisdiction over their case. If this sounds like a situation that you can relate to then stay tuned for the rest of this week as we discuss family law cases in relation to military servicemembers.

Another part of having a family law case that can be especially difficult for members of our military 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 from your ability to see your children is likely limited as a result of 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 that you are feeling as a result of 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 tougher time finding work than their civilian counterparts. Couple this with having less of an education and their increased likelihood of owing child support and you have a situation where the difficult 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 servicemember who has run into some tough 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 in order 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 servicemembers are pulled in multiple directions all at once

Consider that as a servicemember or veteran you are likely being pulled in multiple directions all at the same time. Your commitment to your occupation, your country, your family, your 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 in regard to 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 your concerns list. While active duty servicemembers often times have assistance provided through the military there may not be specific assistance provided to you for your particular needs.

Problems associated with relocation

Annual relocation is a reality for a high percentage of active duty servicemembers. Often times the relocation that is associated with your military responsibilities is not just across town or across the state, but across 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 then you likely know what your monthly child support obligation is. It is based on a percentage of your net monthly income that you earn from the military. If your pay has changed as a result of earning a new rank or taking a new position then you may find yourself in a position where it is more difficult to pay that monthly child support obligation. If your pay increased, your child’s other parent may well take you to court in order 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 your primarily. Given this fact, you are having to incur increased costs to travel to see your children however often your court orders allow. This may 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 as well.

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 actually 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 servicemembers cannot stay in barracks with you so this or another arrangement must be reached in order 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 currently reside is likely the state that has 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 interested 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 of charge 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.


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