As Austin’s premier family-law attorneys, Evans Family Law Group in Austin works with service members and their spouses to make their families stronger. Sometimes the only way to make the family stronger is with a fair and civil divorce.
We work with Texas US Military service members and their spouses, often from nearby Camp Mabry and from Fort Hood.
Military families face all kinds of challenges other families don’t, and that’s true of family law and of divorces. Given what military families sacrifice already, a divorce in a military family shouldn’t be more difficult than any other kind of divorce, but often it’s every bit as challenging. As you know, military service complicates family life. Those complications can lead to the kinds of irreconcilable differences that create a perfect storm for divorce.
You can contact Evans Family Law Group today for a free consultation, or you can read on to learn more about some of the ins and outs of a military divorce.
I’m in the middle of a deployment. How do I handle my divorce?
Much depends on how comfortable you are conducting your divorce from a distance. But you’ll also need to consider how contentious your divorce might be.
If you feel it’s in your best interest to be in the same city as your spouse for the divorce, you can take advantage of the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act, or SCRA. That gives you an additional 90 days to respond to divorce papers. It also gives you time to tell the judge you’re on active-duty deployment, and to request a delay in the divorce hearing until after you return from your deployment. The judge may enter temporary orders, but nothing will be finalized. The SCRA is the best option if the divorce is likely to be contentious, especially because judges rarely conduct divorce hearings over the phone.
If you expect the divorce to be amiable enough for you to agree on all the issues (the true definition of an “uncontested” divorce) you might opt to let your us – your attorneys – handle it from a distance. You can sign scanned documents and email them back to us as needed.
Which state will process my divorce, if my spouse is in a different state?
The state in which the divorce is filed will handle the divorce proceedings. So your spouse’s state of residence will handle the proceedings if your spouse files, or your state will handle the divorce itself if you file for divorce personally.
You have a state of residence, even if you’ve been deployed overseas. See this army pamphlet on your legal residence and domicile if you are unsure what your state of residence is. The rules are the same for all branches of the US Military.
If you want to file and you are deployed here in Texas, there’s a bit of good news: the State of Texas will allow members of the military to file here if they are stationed here, even if they are not long-term residents, and even if they don’t intend to stay in Texas. You have the option.
How will a divorce affect my military benefits?
If you are an active-duty service member you will retain all benefits.
If you are the spouse of an active-duty service member you may lose benefits like TRICARE, access to the commissary, and the use of your military ID. The 20/20/20 rule is the exception.
Your military retirement or your spouse’s military retirement is considered marital property. As such, it can be legally divided during a divorce. Experienced divorce lawyers can help you protect your assets as much as possible
Why would I hire a civilian lawyer for my military divorce?
Though active-duty personnel or a military spouse may take advantage of Military legal counsel, that assistance can go only so far. Military legal assistance personnel will not represent you during your divorce. Even that option will not be an option for you if you’re a veteran or the spouse of a veteran.
Your divorce will take place in a civilian court, even if some aspect of the divorce breaks the military code of conduct.
Whatever you do, don’t try to handle your divorce yourself. It will not end well. It doesn’t matter whether you initiate the divorce or receive the papers. To get unbiased legal representation with your best interests (and your sacrifices and character) in mind, hire an attorney with experience in military divorces.