Texas Military Divorce Laws
Just like civilian divorce, military divorce is an emotional rollercoaster for both parties involved. A military divorce involves a divorce where one or both spouses are in the National Guard, are active duty military personnel, or are reservists. In Texas, there are additional procedures that only pertain to military divorce. So service members need to consult an experienced military divorce lawyer to ensure they meet all the requirements needed to finalize their military divorce.
Military Divorces Are Unique
Members of our armed services are afforded certain special rights that civilians are not entitled to when getting a divorce. This is because a military member’s life is more mobile, unsteady, and stressful compared to that of a civilian. You can file for a military divorce in the Texas county where you are a resident. You must have been a resident of the state of Texas for 180 days and a resident of the county you are filing in for 90 days in order for you to file for a military divorce.
You will have to provide your active duty military spouse with a legal notice in person that shows that an action has been filed in federal court. But the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) gives your active duty military spouse additional time to respond to a petition for divorce. This means that your military divorce will be postponed if your service member spouse is on active duty and then for an additional 60 days after that. If the divorce is uncontested, your active duty military spouse can waive those protections to allow the divorce to proceed.
Property Division In Military Divorce
Property division in military divorces is the same as that of civilian divorces. Division of military retirement benefits is determined by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). You can only receive a disbursement from the retirement benefits of your service member spouse if you have been married for at least 10 years. In addition, your military spouse must have been on active duty during those ten years of marriage. The spouse of a service member is entitled to half of the service member’s disposable retired pay. But the spouse is not entitled to any amount of the service member’s:
- Military disability retired pay
- VA disability compensation
- Special Combat Related Compensation
- Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay
Since Texas is a community property state, all property that service member and service member’s spouse own at the time of divorce is considered jointly owned by both of them. The divorcing parties can agree on how to split this property fairly but if they don’t agree the court will do it for them.
Child Support And Custody
A military divorce has the same child support guidelines used to determine the amount the noncustodial parent needs to pay. However, the child support must not exceed 60 percent of the pay and the allowance of the military member. The spouses that are divorcing can agree on a written parental plan but if they cannot agree a judge will issue an order regarding conservatorship and possession.