In Texas, military divorce cases offer special challenges for every attorney. Such cases involve a complex convergence of Texas divorce laws and federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act.
How is the military service member's military retirement divided?
Division of military retirement is a very complicated area of the law. The military spouse is entitled to share in that part of the service member's retirement that is deemed to be part of the community estate, which is that portion of the retirement derived from the years of the service member's years of creditable military service during which he or she was married to the military spouse. There are many different methodologies involved in calculating the spouse's share of the service member's military retirement, which depend on a number of factors, such as whether the service member is on active duty at the time of divorce, credit from military reserve service, and disability.
How is the divorce action in court affected by a military service member's deployment?
The Service Members Civil Relief Act is, among other things, legislation intended to free active duty men and women from pressures and distractions while performing their duties. Under the Relief Act, service members’ divorce proceedings may be postponed, at the discretion of the judge, for the length of their active service term, plus 60 days after their tour ends. Of course, such a remedy is not absolute. First of all, the final decision to stay divorce proceedings rests in the hands of the judge. Furthermore, it is not always in the best interest of the service member to delay divorce proceedings for a long period of time. Alimony, child support, or military retirement benefits awards to the spouse could increase as more time passes; in certain situations, conducting divorce proceedings through long-distance mediums (such as the Internet) is both the most feasible and beneficial option.
What about post-divorce continuation of military benefits to the spouse?
Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), former spouses are eligible for full medical, commissary, and exchange privileges where all of the following conditions apply: (i) the spouses were married for at least 20 years, (ii) the military member performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay, and (iii) there was at least a 20 year overlap of the marriage and the military service.
In Texas, military divorce cases offer a unique set of challenges for every attorney. Such cases involve a complex convergence of Texas divorce laws and federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. Few Texas lawyers are intimately familiar with the rules governing military retirement, disability pay, Survivor Benefit Plan benefits, and other benefits available to retired military personnel and their ex-spouses.
Marc A. Pederson, Attorney at Law, is well experienced in dealing with the complexities unique to divorces involving an active duty, reserve, or retired military service member. Contact Pederson Law Office for a free telephone consultation.
1919 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212
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