The marriage life when one, or both, spouses is a part of the military has its share of challenges. Constant relocation and long periods of time apart from each other can take a significant toll on a relationship. When divorce appears to be the best solution to end the persistent emotional strain, military divorce presents more complexities than your typical civilian divorce.
Here are four things to consider when it comes to military divorces:
- Jurisdiction. When a military family agrees to a divorce in Texas, the state requires that either one or both parties must have been a resident for at least 90 days. Since military members are often serving their duty in various locations, even overseas, there can be some question as to where they are a legal resident. In cases where a Servicemember is served with process while on active duty, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may enable military members to be protected from default.
- Benefits. Another issue to consider is what will happen to each of the spouse’s military benefits. It is likely that during separation, both spouses will maintain their military ID cards and benefits. The military abides by the 20/20/20 rule, meaning a non-military spouse who is married to a Servicemember for 20 years or longer during the period of time that the Servicemember performed at least 20 years of creditable service for retirement pay, may qualify to keep medical benefits and exchange privileges, at a cost. Those who do not qualify may have the option of enrolling in the Continued Health Care Benefit Program through the U.S. Department of Defense for up to 36 months.
- Property Division. Under Texas law, any benefits accrued during the marriage are subject to division. This includes military retirement and the TSP or Thrift Savings Plan.
- Child Custody. Visitation is more complicated than usual if one of the parents is deployed, either overseas or to a stateside base in another state. There are options for putting Temporary Orders in place for changing visitation or even allowing family members of the active duty Servicemember to exercise their visitation during deployment.
Looking for divorce or child custody counsel?
Do not hesitate to call a Denton divorce lawyer at Coker, Robb & Cannon, Family Lawyers at (940) 293-2313.