Military couple holding hands, contemplating divorce

What Makes Military Divorces Different?

Military divorces present unique issues and challenges. If you are a service member and would like to begin the divorce process, it’s important that you understand the differences between military and civilian divorces. In order to ensure that you are prepared for your military divorce, you should contact a Texas divorce attorney as soon as possible for assistance. Below is an overview of what makes military divorces different than civilian divorces. 

Filing State and Military Pension

With a military divorce, a spouse may file for divorce in the state where either spouse has a legal residence. Thus, the spouse initiating the divorce usually files for divorce in the state where he or she lives (as long as he or she has lived there for at least six months). However, before initiating a military divorce, it’s important to determine how the state addresses the division of military pensions. The federal statute that governs military pensions states that the service member’s state of legal residence has the power to divide the military pension in a divorce. Therefore, if a spouse files for divorce in a state that isn’t the military member’s state of legal residence, then the court may lack the authority to divide the pension. 

Divorce Stay

In a civilian divorce, when one spouse serves divorce documents on the other spouse, the responding spouse is required to file a formal response within a certain time period. However, federal law permits an active-duty member of the military to request a stay if he or she needs more time to respond to the court action due to his or her military service. The initial stay in a military divorce is at least 90 days. However, the court can grant extensions beyond 90 days at its discretion. 

Child Support 

State law determines the amount of child support in a divorce. In military divorces, this amount is ordinarily based on basic allowance for housing, base pay, basic allowance for subsistence, and any other special military pay received by the service member. 

Military Pensions

The issue of military pensions is an additional matter that is unique to military divorces. However, determining if and how a military pension is divided in a military divorce can be complicated.  A common misconception is that the spouse of a service member is only entitled to a share of a military pension if he or she has been married to the service member for at least ten years. This isn’t necessarily the case. In a military divorce, the court can grant the non-military spouse whatever share of the service member’s military pension that it deems to be fair. 

Contact our Denton County Divorce and Mediation Lawyer 

If you are seeking a military divorce in Texas, you need an experienced Texas divorce attorney on your side. At Youngberg Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of military divorces and will work to achieve a fair and just outcome on your behalf. Our experienced attorney is equally adept at traditional courtroom divorce and mediation, and we serve clients throughout Denton County, including Flower Mound, Highland Village, Little Elm and Denton. Therefore, if you need assistance with a military divorce, please contact us today for a consultation.