Military divorce has specific state and federal laws that apply which make it unlike a standard civilian case. You need legal experts on your side to help you navigate the laws in these circumstances. In order to file in Texas you or your spouse must reside or be stationed in Texas.
Notification and Protection from Divorce Proceedings
If you are filing for divorce in the state of Texas you must notify your spouse by “legal notice,” which can be done in one of three ways – a waiver of service, official service in person or by mail or official service by publication or posting. In a civilian case if your spouse fails to respond after being served and the waiting periods passed, the case would be considered “default,” and you could finish your case without them. Laws for military service members, however, protect them from being held in “default” from failure to respond to service. The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and the discretion of the Texas court can postpone a divorce proceeding for the entire service time of the active duty and for 60 days following. Should the active duty service member wish to waive the postponement and get the divorce, that is allowed also.
An active duty spouse is required to be served with legal notice of the divorce along with a summons in person for Texas to have jurisdiction over the case. If the case is uncontested, the active duty spouse may not have to be served if he or she signs and files a waiver affidavit that acknowledges the divorce.
Division of Assets
The federal government enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) which calculates and divides how a service member’s military retirement benefits are designated upon divorce. The couple must have been married for at least 10 years while the service member was in active duty status in order for the spouse to receive any portion of the service member’s retirement. Standard division of assets in Texas divorce proceedings also applies to military families.
Child and Spousal Support
Child support and spousal support (alimony) may not exceed 60% of the military service member’s pay and allowances in the state of Texas. Typical guidelines, worksheets and schedules are utilized in determining the appropriate amount of child and spousal support for military families in Texas.
If you or your spouse are military service members seeking a divorce, contact us today for a consultation.