Navigating legal proceedings with a divorce can be difficult, especially when a spouse is serving in the military. If you are looking to file for divorce in Austin, Texas, contact military divorce lawyer Abraham Kant to schedule your case consultation.
Military divorces have additional rules and regulations that can further complicate traditional divorce proceedings. One of the first steps in any divorce is filing and serving the divorce papers to your spouse. If your spouse is in the military it may not be possible for them to receive the papers in the allotted 90-day time frame that is usually ordered by the court. If this is the case, the court can extend the time. However, it can also be extended until the military member is no longer on active duty or until they are able to receive the papers.
Often, the job and income status of the spouse not in the military can be a result of the other spouse being in the military. They may focus more on staying home with the kids because they know their spouse will be deployed for long periods. This means that during the divorce, the spouse who is in the military may be responsible for spousal support. In such cases, it is important to note that child support and alimony in the state of Texas cannot be more than 60% of the military member’s pay. Those serving in the military also have complex and fluctuating earning statements which can include hazard pay and allotments for housing which will need to be factored in when setting child support.
Depending on the spouse’s specific role in the military and how often they are usually deployed, some military spouses may seek less custody of their children because they know they will be away. Even if they want full custody, their deployments can often negatively impact their chances of getting it. It is also important to note that the Texas Family Code provides that a parent’s family can exercise possession of children while the armed services member is stationed overseas.
If you have served in the military for over 20 years, you are given a retirement pension for the rest of your life. This can sometimes be treated as marital property. In Texas, you only receive some of the military pension if you have been married to the military member while they have been in the military for at least 10 years. If they were not married for at least 10 years while one spouse was in the military, it is up to the spouses to decide at their own discretion, and the courts will not award any money to the non-military spouse.
It is also important to address the Survivor’s Benefit Plan during the proceedings. This helps decide what should happen to the spouse if the military member dies before them. If one is not put in place and the military member dies before the spouse, the spouse may not receive payments anymore. However, it can be set up so the surviving spouse will still receive payments even if the military member dies before they do.
After a divorce is finalized, there are still some ways that the non-military spouse can receive healthcare through the military. The first way is through TRICARE. The requirements for TRICARE are that you have been married for at least 20 years while the military member was on active service. The second option is through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program. If the military member leaves the military, the divorced spouse may buy insurance through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program coverage for 36 months. In some circumstances, a spouse may be able to receive more than 36 months of coverage.
The military will provide legal assistance to both the military member and their spouse. However, due to the complexities of these proceedings, it is usually considered advisable for the non-military member to hire a civilian attorney to provide the most effective assistance. If you are looking for a civil attorney to help you navigate a military divorce in Texas, contact Austin military divorce attorney Abraham Kant today to schedule your free initial consultation.