Military Divorce & Alimony
Houston Attorneys Helping Military Families
Every divorce case is unique, especially those involving service members. The circumstances surrounding military divorce can complicate the process of dissolving the marriage, especially when it comes to establishing alimony.
Establishing alimony in a military divorce is different than in a civilian divorce, which is why you should align yourself with a qualified attorney to represent your rights and best interests throughout the process.
Alimony for Military Spouses
Each branch of the military has its own, temporary rules for alimony and child support. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which directs the government to pay support, must have a copy of the court order to establish a long-term or permanent agreement.
In general, 50-65% of disposable income is allocated to alimony. The actual percentage depends on several factors.
Allotments are assigned as follows:
- 50% of disposable earnings is the maximum amount allowable if the spouse paying alimony provides proof that he or she is providing for more than half of the support for the spouse or dependents.
- 55% of disposable earnings is the maximum amount allowable if the payor has accrued an arrearage. This means that the spouse paying alimony has not paid on the due date, if at all. In this case, the payor must still provide proof that they are paying over half of the support for the spouse or dependents.
- 60% is of disposable earnings is the maximum amount allowable if the payor has not provided proof that they are supporting their spouse or dependents in some capacity. In this case, the payor has not accrued an arrearage, but they also have not proven to the court their share of financial responsibility.
- 65% of disposable earnings is the maximum amount allowable if the payor has not provided proof of financial responsibility, and they have accrued an arrearage.
This allocation method only comes into play if the spouse paying alimony does not have enough disposable income to pay the full amount of alimony designated by the court. In this case, the Consumer Credit Protection Act would apply, and the percentages listed above would be used to determine the amount of alimony you are obligated to pay. If you have enough disposable earnings, you will have to pay the full alimony amount determined in your case.
How to Set Up Alimony Through DFAS
To begin alimony payments, submit an order from the court to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Spouses of employees or service members in other departments may also be eligible.
If your spouse works in one of the following departments, you may file for alimony through the DFAS:
- Department of Defense
- Health and Human Services
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Broadcast Board of Governors
- Department of Energy
You will need to send income withholding and other documents by fax to DFAS. Spouses can also set up direct deposit payments for alimony. You can find more information about DFAS and the filing process here.
Additional Sources of Alimony in Texas
Military spouses in Texas are entitled to a portion of the communal property after the divorce. Communal property is anything owned or paid for jointly while the couple was married. Everything else is separate property, which cannot go to the other spouse.
Debt, retirement benefits, and healthcare are communal in many military divorce cases. Division of retirement benefits is very complex, particularly for service members. In Texas, if the judge decides that your military retirement benefits are communal, they will be divided, and your spouse will receive a portion of the benefits. Only military couples married for ten or more years qualify for direct payments from a retirement fund after a divorce. In some cases, pensions and retirement funds can act as a source for alimony and child support payments.
Healthcare plans for service members are also divided in some military divorces. The couple must have been married for 20 or more years, with the military spouse serving for at least 20 years during the marriage, to receive military health benefits. These benefits are often part of an alimony settlement in military divorces. Like retirement benefits, they are considered divisible by the court.
Houston Attorneys at Your Service
The divorce process for military personnel and their families is stressful and confusing without an attorney's help. At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, our award-winning team provides sound legal counsel backed by diverse experience. We prove our dedication to helping our clients by evaluating their case and creating a legal strategy to help them reach their goals.
Call the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC at (281) 810-9760, or visit us onlineto schedule a free consultation.