Provisions For Active Military Members Under The Texas Family Code


Family law matters concerning active military members under Texas Family Code are a little different than for civilians. For instance active military service members have special legal protection while deployed abroad that protects them from service of divorce proceedings, child custody or child support proceedings and other family law matters, while they are deployed overseas. Additionally, military divorce is also slightly different than civilian divorce, and can involve military specific issues, such as division of military retirement pay between the spouses and certain child custody and support issues that only arise for active service members.

Protection from Service of Process While Deployed

When an active duty service person is deployed overseas, he or she is protected from being served family court proceeding papers under the Service Members Civil Relief Act. The purpose of this protection is to keep military members focused on protecting the country while they are deployed, and also to ensure that the military members are back in the United States to handle their legal affairs personally and not penalized for being away serving their country. Under the Act, proceedings are postponed until the military member can return from duty. When the military member is deployed in times of war, he or she will be granted a postponement of an additional 60 days upon returning to the country before process can be served on him or her.

Issues That Are Specific To Military Divorce

Military divorce involves some unique issues that do not exist in civilian divorce. For example, under Texas law, child custody or visitation rights might transfer to an active service member’s parents and child support calculations will in part be based on the active service member’s Leave and Earnings statement.

Military divorce also includes the division of the service member’s military pension and other retirement. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, former spouses of active service members may be eligible for a portion of their military ex-spouse’s retirement pension by the Texas court. It is not necessarily a given that an ex spouse will be entitled to a share of a service member’s retirement and pensions, but rather if there are no other marital assets, the court will divvy up the retirement accounts so that both parties leave the marriage with something. The rules that apply to this can be complicated and very specific, so it is important that you have an experienced military family law lawyer by your side ensuring that your rights are not impinged or that you are taken advantage of.

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