The Basics of Divorce in the Military

Whether you are an active duty military member or the spouse of an active duty military member, your life will be very different than what you would experience as a civilian. Being in the military really impacts just about every area of your life. If you are getting a divorce, or think that you may be in the future, it is important to understand how a military divorce is going to be different than what a civilian would experience.

Timing of the Divorce

Once one party serves the divorce papers to the other party, they will typically have a set number of days to respond. If no response is filed with the courts, they will continue on with the divorce proceedings. The same rules apply to military members, but they will have the ability to file for a stay, which will give them additional time to complete their response.

A stay will likely be granted if the military member’s duties are preventing them from being able to deal with the situation. Each approved stay will give the serviceperson an additional 90 days to respond. These stays can’t be used indefinitely, and will only be approved if it is due to that person’s duties in the military.

Child Custody

When children are involved, the family court will look at all the factors of the case just as they would with a normal civilian divorce. Unlike a civilian divorce, however, this will include the military responsibilities (if active duty) of the service member. Depending on the role of the servicemember, the courts can create a parenting plan that will ensure the children are properly cared for even when the servicemember is away, and both parents are able to have a strong relationship with the children.

Military Pensions & Retirement

If you have been in the military for long enough to earn a military retirement or pension, it will need to be addressed in the divorce. The courts will likely use the “10-10” rule when dividing up these benefits. This rule states that in order for the non-military member to get their benefits in a divorce, they must have been married for at least 10 years while the military member was serving. If this rule is met, the military retired pay center will split the benefits and send them to the proper person.

Courts can still divide military retirement benefits even if the 10-10 rule isn’t met. When this happens, however, it will be the responsibility of the military member to pay out the required benefits to his or her ex-spouse themselves.

Get an Experienced Texas Family Law Attorney on Your Side

These are just some of the most common areas that a military family will need to be aware of when going through a divorce. In order to get the best possible results, you need an attorney who has experience in this area. Contact Amsberry Law to set up a consultation and see how we can help you through this difficult time.

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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