Divorce is a trying and emotional time. And for those spouses who currently serve in the US military, it can be even more challenging. The military divorce process comes with unique complexities that you should understand as you consider your options. Here’s what you can expect during your divorce.
Expect Your Military Divorce to Take Longer
Due to the unique nature of military divorce, the process may take longer to complete, especially if your spouse is currently deployed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act helps protect spouses who are currently on active duty from the strain of civil proceedings.
For example, if the servicemember can prove he or she is unable to attend civil court due to deployment, a “stay” for up to 90 days can be granted. A servicemember can also request an additional stay once the original 90 days is up.
Child custody considerations and the division of military retirement benefits can also cause the proceedings to take a bit longer than usual.
Expect for Both Spouses to Share Military Benefits
One of the most common questions in a military divorce is what happens with the spouse’s retirement benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act dictates which benefits are sole property or community property depending on the state you live in.
Texas is a community property state, which means military benefits are considered marital property. This means the benefits are divided fairly between you and your spouse. Of course, there are eligibility requirements former spouses must meet to receive military retirement pay. For example, you must be married for 10 years or longer while the servicemember performed 10 years of military service.
Expect to Get Creative With Child Custody
If you or your spouse are facing deployment, you can expect to get creative with child custody arrangements. You’ll need to work with your attorney to create a custody plan that discusses what happens in the event of deployment. For example, custody may return to the other spouse or a family member may be able to step in.
It’s important to note that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act does prevent the non-deployed spouse from changing the child custody order during deployment. That’s why it’s important to create a detailed plan ahead of time.
Are You Considering a Military Divorce? Call Us Today.
Whether you’re concerned about what will happen with your military benefits or want to simply protect your rights, we can help. To learn more about military divorce and how to best move forward, give us a call at 817-789-4436 or send us a message.