Military Family Law
Matters of divorce for active or former members of the military are often much more
complex than if both spouses are civilians. Having an attorney who understands what you are
facing can make all the difference. Heather Hudson not only has served in the military but her
and her staff have taken special training to better understand all the complex legal issues that
arise from military divorces.
What does “Military Divorce” really mean?
It means that are key issues that distinguish military divorce from a civilian divorce. Knowing how the law applies to your case is important. Knowing the correct jurisdiction when filing is imperative.
Military personnel who are getting divorced are no different than anyone else. The procedural process is the same as a civilian divorce. However, if you are the military member or the military spouse, there are some additional factors that can affect your divorce.
1. The process may take longer if one of you is on active duty in a remote area or have a
permanent station overseas.
2. Residency requirements for active-duty service personnel may not be the state of Texas.
3. Understanding that after the divorce the former spouse may not be the beneficiary of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). This is a benefit that must be address in the divorce settlement.
4. Base privileges may still be extended to the former spouse based on the 20/20/20 rule.
5. The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is treated the same as a 401(k). There are specific requirements that must be met by the court order that different from civilian retirement plan divisions.
6. Tricare benefits may be extended based on the 20/20/20 rule as well.
7. Military Retirement Pay/Pension has certain criteria that must be met in order for the former spouse to obtain those benefits. You may or may not qualify for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to pay you directly.
Texas is a community property state, and in civilian divorces,
property division is divided
between both parties in a manner that is "just and right." Military divorces in Texas also follow
state law, and the
Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
expressly states that
“disposable retired pay” received as non-disability military retirement and earned during the
marriage is community property subject to division on divorce.
When it is determined that Texas has jurisdiction over both parties, all marital property gets divided in the divorce decree whether it is in Texas or some other state. It is imperative that your attorney know what and how TriCare is, how Commissary and Exchange privileges work, and what the Service Members Civil Relief Act is and how it applies to your divorce.
A former spouse may have rights to have access to military exchanges and commissaries. The former spouse may have the right to receive health care at military treatment facilities. A former spouse may receive part of the service member’s retirement pay as well.
Another unique aspect to military divorces is the right for the service member to adopt the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act in their divorce. This act provides certain safeguards to prevent a default judgment being rendered against a service member. It also permits the service member the ability to stay the proceedings of a divorce case while they are overseas.
Whether you, your spouse, or both are a member of the military, Heather Hudson can provide you the guidance you will need to proceed through this divorce.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation.