Divorce is always a difficult process, but it can be particularly complex for couples when one or both spouses are in the military. Military service affects almost every area of life, and family law matters are no exception to this norm. For this reason, a military service member or spouse will find great benefit in seeking the counsel of an attorney experienced in military divorce before moving forward.
As in other types of divorces, money and the kids are two of the main sources of conflict in a military divorce. However, military families stationed in Texas may face complications that are not seen in civilian divorces, such as how deployment could impact child custody and the division of military pension.
What happens to the pension?
Legally, military couples who are getting divorced are no different from non-military couples. However, military pension is one of the factors that could complicate your divorce if you currently serve in the military, are retired from the military or are married to someone who is.
Some ex-spouses may be eligible for direct payments of their shares of military pension benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. You may qualify for this if the following apply to your situation:
- Marriage lasted at least 10 years
- Marriage overlapped with at least 10 years of military service
Even if you do not qualify for direct pay from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, you may still be eligible for a share of benefits. The maximum amount of pension that an ex-spouse can receive is 50 percent of the total. How and when distribution will happen depends on the terms of the individual divorce agreement.
What happens to the kids?
Military families are unique in that an active-duty parent could be deployed for long periods of time. Any child custody order can address these issues, and military parents and spouses have the right to work together on an agreement and parenting plan that suits their unique needs. Parents should consider deployment, temporary duty assignments and potential future moves as part of their custody plan.
Even military families are subject to state laws regarding custody and divorce proceedings, and you would be wise to find out what that means for your family. When you work with an attorney sensitive to your unique concerns and familiar with the challenges of military life, you can pursue a strong post-divorce future with confidence.