On behalf of The Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty, PC posted in Military Divorce on Friday, December 9, 2016.

Texas and federal laws govern proceedings for couples undergoing a military divorce. Spouses face issues that differ from their civilian counterparts in these cases.

Texas courts, acting in accordance with the federal Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, may postpone a divorce proceeding for the entire period that active service members are on duty. This postponement may also continue for up to 60 days after active service.

These postponements usually occur during a war. These delays were intended to prevent a court from ruling that an active duty member, who was unaware of the divorce action, was in default by not responding to the case. However, active service members may waive this postponement when they wish to have the divorce proceed.

A spouse on active deployment must receive personal service of the summons, and the divorce action for a Texas court to assume jurisdiction over that spouse. This can be waived though, when the spouse files a waiver affidavit acknowledging the action.

Texas also has residency and filing requirements. At least one of the spouses have to reside in Texas or be stationed in the state.

The grounds for a military divorce are the same for a civilian divorce in Texas. Additionally, child support and alimony may not exceed 60 percent of a service member’s pay and allowances. Child support is calculated with the normal state guidelines, worksheets and schedules.

Texas property division laws and the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) determine how military retirement benefits are calculated and allocated. Military retiree pay may be directly paid to a former spouse under the USFSPA. Federal law does not allow the distribution of military retirement pay to a former spouse unless they were married for at least 10 years while the service member was on active duty.

A qualified attorney can help a spouse understand their rights in these divorces. Legal representation can help assure that property division, support and custody issues are resolved fairly.

Source: DivorceSupport.com, “Texas military divorce laws,” accessed on Dec. 5, 2016