FAQs About Military Divorce
How does the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) help me?
The SCRA provides various rights and protections to military service members. It addresses many legal issues, including:
- Housing issues, such as rent payments or foreclosures
- Credit card interest and debt issues
- Tax and insurance matters
- Civil court proceedings and processes
In regards to military divorces, the SCRA gives service members the right to contest a divorce, or suspend the divorce proceedings while they are on active duty or before deployment. Civil law states that the service member still must appear in court or any other divorce proceedings, but the SCRA allows them to halt proceedings until they can be present for the divorce process.
How does the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) work?
This act protects military spouses in the event of a divorce. It gives spouses the right to choose where to file the divorce, but it mostly addresses the spouse’s rights to military benefits even after the marriage has ended.
The most significant aspect of the USFSPA is that it classifies a military retirement pension as property instead of income. This makes the pension, and many other military benefits, applicable in the property division process of divorce.
What is the 10/10 rule?
The 10/10 rule is a part of the USFSPA. Military spouses can receive direct payments from military pensions and benefits during a divorce if:
- The marriage lasted for at least 10 years
- And 10 years of a service member’s active duty overlapped that time
I am on active duty. How will this affect my child custody arrangement?
Custody matters can be complex for military families. Since many service members are deployed on active duty, often overseas, they may not be able to see their children as much as they would like.
Courts place a child’s best interests first in all custody matters. This is to help maintain stability and safety in a child’s life. Service members often worry that deployment can negatively impact their rights to custody. And while Texas laws and the SCRA offer service members protections for their parental rights, deployment can still impact your custody rights.
That is why it is important to work with an experienced military and family law attorney. We can help protect your parental rights and ensure you secure visitation and parenting time with your children.
What will happen if I have custody of my children, but I could be deployed?
There are some situations where parents in the military obtain sole custody, or significant custody, of their children. If this is the case, it is necessary for military parents to craft a family care plan that establishes:
- Who will care for the child in the short term, in case of deployment
- Who will care for the child in the long term, in case of deployment
- Important instructions and details for caring for the child
- Powers of attorney to the caretakers to protect the child
What if I cannot make my support payments while deployed?
Deployment does not impact a service member’s obligation to make child support or alimony payments. Both military and civilian law enforce support payments through wage garnishment or court orders.
However, if it is difficult to make support payments, it may be possible to adjust the support agreements, so you can. A knowledgeable military lawyer can help you modify support agreements to fit your unique needs. You can contact our San Antonio offices online to learn more.
Do I need a divorce attorney?
While it is not necessary, it is certainly beneficial to work with a divorce attorney. Especially for a military divorce.
Military laws as well as civil state laws and statutes regulate military divorces. This can make the situation complicated and stressful to navigate. An attorney with experience in both family law, divorce and military law can help guide you through the divorce process and protect your rights.