Military Benefits & Divorce in Texas

The US military provides some of the best on-the-job benefits of any industry in the country, including excellent healthcare, retirement plans, and access to military base privileges like commissaries.

By virtue of marriage, spouses of military service members are also granted access to these benefits. But what happens when the couple gets divorced?

Divorce always stirs up difficult questions with regard to the division of assets, but the situation can be even more complex when one spouse is in the military. Does the non-military spouse still have a right to the military benefits in the divorce, even though he or she will no longer have any connection to the military once the settlement is finalized?

The short answer is, yes, in the State of Texas a non-military spouse can be granted continued access to most of their ex-spouse’s military benefits in the division of assets during a divorce—though the manner in which the benefits are split can vary drastically from divorce to divorce based on the circumstances.

Texas is a community property state, meaning that, with very few exceptions, any property that is acquired during the marriage is considered community property and thus can be divided by the courts between spouses in a divorce.

So, in the example of retirement benefits, any benefits that the military spouse received prior to the marriage will not be considered community property and cannot be granted to his or her spouse. However, the retirement benefits that accrued during the marriage are considered to be community property by the court and can be split. Additionally, based on the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), retirement benefits can be treated as property rather than income for the purpose of division.

Texas courts have a great deal of power to divide any community property assets as needed based on the circumstances of divorce, the individual incomes of each spouse, and the needs of any children involved.

A non-military former spouse may also retain healthcare benefits through the military if they were married to their spouse for at least 20 years which also overlapped with 20 years of their spouse’s service. The same goes for retaining access to base privileges like the commissary and exchange. The non-military spouse will, however, lose their military health benefits if they remarry or receive an offer for paid healthcare from a job.

Once the divorce is finalized, the non-military spouse also cannot continue to utilize military housing.

Every military divorce is unique, and it is vital that you consult with an attorney who is familiar with the challenges military divorces entail. Attorney Russell Amsberry is a former JAG officer who has a wealth of experience to assist you with the full spectrum of any military divorce. Please contact the Amsberry Law Firm today.

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Written by Amsberry Law Firm

Amsberry Law Firm

Mr. Amsberry is board-certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a proven litigator who has argued before the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and earned favorable outcomes in complex, precedent-setting employment and civil rights cases. He served as a reservist assistant judge advocate general in the U.S. Army and is a sought-after lecturer and speaker on a range of legal issues.

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