How is Divorce Different if a Spouse is in the Military?

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Military divorce can be a complex and challenging process, especially in Texas, where unique legal issues exist. Today, we will discuss what is most important to know regarding military divorce in Texas. In addition, we will discuss residency requirements, service of process, child custody and support, and the division of military benefits. If you are looking to get a divorce and you or your spouse are in the military, consider contacting an attorney with experience in military divorce to ensure the proper guidelines are followed lawfully and that your legal rights remain protected and respected throughout the process. 

Considerations for Military Divorce in Texas

Divorce can be different if one or both spouses are in the military in Texas. Here are some ways military divorce differs from civilian divorce in Texas. These differences include the following:

  • Residency requirements – In Texas, one spouse must have been a state resident for six months before filing for divorce. In addition, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the county they are filing from for 90 days. However, military personnel and their spouse may file for divorce in Texas in cases where the military spouse has been put on duty in Texas and the same county for those same periods. 

  • Service of process – The other spouse must be served with a copy of the divorce papers when filing for divorce. This can be especially challenging if the other spouse is deployed overseas. However, the Service Members Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain protections for military personnel, like preventing default judgments in civil cases like divorce. In particular, if the military spouse is overseas, the civilian spouse must wait until their spouse has received a notice of the petition. Sometimes, the military spouse may need to return from duty before the case can proceed. 

  • Division of military benefits – Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), the spouse of military members might be eligible to have certain military benefits continue once the divorce has been finalized. This may include commissary and exchange and healthcare. However, this depends on how long the marriage lasted and whether it concurred with the military service. Additionally, the civilian spouse may be entitled to some of their military spouse’s retirement pay. As always, please discuss these matters with your attorney to see what may be relevant to your case. 

  • Child custody and support – Child custody and support are determined based on the best interests of the child, regardless of whether one or both parents are in the military. That being said, if a military spouse is deployed, they may decide to try and obtain a temporary order to let another party, such as a relative, have custody or visitation with the child while the parent is deployed. Likewise, after the military parent has returned from duty, they may decide to pursue temporary visitation time once they return from their duty tour. 

Contact a Collin County Military Divorce Lawyer

If your divorce involves someone in the military, contact the Plano military divorce attorney with Law Office of Brian Bagley. Call (972) 843-7158 for a free consultation.


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