How to Protect Your Benefits in a Texas Military Divorce
Divorce rates among military couples are the highest among any profession. Some experts suggest that it is the stress associated with a career in the armed forces that can take a toll on a marriage. This is especially true for those who are deployed. If this is your current situation, there are things you need to consider, and a military divorce attorney can help you understand special protections to keep your benefits. The finances of divorce are often complicated, and special military benefits and rules add an extra layer of complexity.
Requirements and Protections
In a military divorce, there are unique considerations due to state and federal laws. In Texas, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state of Texas for minimally six months prior to filing for divorce, and they must have been a resident of the county where they filed for at least three months. A service member who uses a Texas residence as a permanent address while serving meets both of these requirements. For military couples, there are two major federal acts that protect the rights of service members and their former spouses.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
SCRA is designed to protect active-duty service members from default judgments in civil court. Divorce papers must be served to an active-duty service member. If a military spouse is serving overseas, the process could be lengthier. Active-duty military members have an additional 90 days to respond to being served under SCRA. They can also ask the court for a continuance until they return from deployment.
Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)
Military spouses will not only have to consider property division but military benefits as well. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), civilian spouses may qualify to continue benefits including shopping at military exchanges and access to healthcare services. It would depend on the length of the marriage. They may also be entitled to a part of the service member's retirement benefits if the couple was married for at least ten years. It is essential to address this in your Texas divorce agreement so your rights are protected.
Child Custody in a Military Divorce
Child custody is determined with the child's best interest in mind, but it can be complicated, especially if one of the spouses is deployed. However, a deployed parent may pursue a temporary order to allow a relative to exercise custody or visitation.
Contact a Plano Military Divorce Lawyer
One of the best ways for service members and military spouses to prepare for a divorce is to hire a Collin County military divorce attorney with experience in these types of cases. At Law Office of Brian Bagley, we will work to ensure that your interests are protected. Call (972) 843-7158 for a free consultation.