Thank you for your or Your Spouse's Military service
Understanding the intricacies of military divorces in Texas can be quite a task, considering that they bring to the table a unique set of legal considerations distinct from regular civilian divorces. The situation becomes further complex when either spouse serves in the military or is a veteran. To navigate this maze successfully, it is indispensable to have the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, well-acquainted with military divorce cases, to ensure comprehensive representation of your rights and interests.
Distribution of military pensions and benefits
A significant part of this complexity arises due to the distribution of military pensions and benefits during a divorce. In Texas, military pensions are classified as marital property. Therefore, they are subject to division upon dissolution of the marriage. The division process, however, is governed by federal law. This underlines the need to retain an attorney who can decipher the sophisticated rules and regulations dictating this process.
In addition to pensions, other military benefits, including health care benefits, housing allowances, and survivor benefits, are also subject to division in a military divorce. Federal law also regulates these benefits, requiring an attorney with a profound understanding of these areas.
The 20/20/20 Rule
Two critical federal regulations that come into play in military divorces are the “20/20/20 rule” and the “10/10 rule”. The 20/20/20 rule, under 10 U.S. Code § 1072, refers to marriages that lasted at least 20 years, during which the military member performed at least 20 years of service eligible for retirement pay, and there is an overlap of at least 20 years between the marriage and the military service. Former spouses who meet the 20/20/20 criteria can continue to enjoy full military benefits and privileges, even after a divorce.
The 10/10 Rule
But the 10/10 rule, according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), requires the marriage to last at least 10 years. During that time, the military spouse must have completed 10 years of military service. The 10/10 rule allows the non-military spouse to receive a direct payment of the military spouse’s retirement pay from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) if they meet these requirements.
Child Custody And Support In Military Divorces
Another critical consideration in military divorces is the custody and visitation of children. Military service often necessitates extended travel periods, making consistent parent-child contact challenging. The ‘best interests of the child’ standard governs child custody and visitation determinations in Texas. Nevertheless, a parent’s military service can significantly influence this standard.
Moreover, a parent’s military service can affect child support obligations. Changes in a military parent’s income due to their service can affect the ability to provide child support. Thus, an attorney who understands these dynamics is critical to navigating these issues effectively.
Which Court Has Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction becomes a critical factor in military divorces as military personnel could be stationed across various states or even in foreign countries, raising significant questions about the court that holds jurisdiction over the divorce. Additionally, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) often applies, which prescribes the rules for the division of military pensions and benefits in divorce proceedings.
Navigating a military divorce in Texas can be daunting, swarming with complexity and challenges. If you or your spouse serve in the military and are contemplating a divorce, we are here to assist. Our expert team will guide you through these unique legal issues, ensuring your rights are protected and your interests upheld throughout the process. Navigating a military divorce can be manageable with the proper legal counsel.