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San Antonio Military Divorce Attorney

San Antonio military service member divorce lawyer

How Does Military Divorce Work In Texas?

Getting a divorce can be a complex process for anyone. However, when people who serve in the United States military get divorced, they may need to address some unique issues. These may include determining how to proceed with the divorce process when a person is deployed overseas, considering military benefits when dividing marital property, and making decisions about how child custody and visitation will be handled during periods of deployment or other times when a parent may be unavailable due to their military service.

At Brandon Wong & Associates, we respect the sacrifices made by members of the military, and we are dedicated to protecting their rights while also addressing the rights and interests of their family members. If you are in the military, or if your spouse is a service member, you will want to be sure to work with an attorney who understands the difference between civilian divorces and military divorces. We understand the unique factors that can play a role in these cases, and we can help you address these issues correctly as you work to dissolve your marriage. We can help you if you or your family are located at Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, Joint Base San Antonio, or other installations in Texas, and we can also provide representation to those who are deployed in other areas of the United States or in other countries.

Handling Divorce, Custody, and Visitation Orders, Even if You Are Deployed

When a member of the military is serving in a location away from where they usually live, they may be concerned about their ability to address family law issues. For example, a person deployed in another country may receive notice that their spouse has filed a petition for divorce, and they may be unsure about whether they will be able to respond to this petition within the right time period. These situations are addressed by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which allows for a "stay" of proceedings in civil cases, including divorce, child custody, and other family law matters.

A service member may apply for a 90-day stay, which will place a divorce or family law case on hold for this amount of time, and they may also ask for an additional stay if necessary. To receive a stay, a person will need to show that they are currently serving in the military or that their service ended within the previous 90 days, and they will also need to provide a statement detailing why their duty requirements prevent them from appearing and stating the date when they are available to come to court, as well as a letter from a commanding officer verifying these claims and showing that military leave to address these issues has not been authorized. This may provide a person with additional time to ensure that they will be able to take the proper steps to handle their legal concerns with the assistance of an attorney.

We can assist with multiple aspects of a military divorce, including helping servicemembers or their spouses understand their choices regarding uncontested or contested divorce. We can help address issues related to custody of children, including establishing temporary custody or visitation orders for clients who are located in or near San Antonio, stationed in another part of the country, or deployed overseas. We can also ensure that child support is calculated correctly, and we can help spouses understand how military healthcare and retirement benefits may be addressed during the division of community property.

Military Divorce FAQs


How to File for a Divorce in the Military?

Answer: First, you will need to file for your divorce in the county where you live. You must also have been a resident of Texas for 180 days or a resident of the county you live in for 90 days before filing for divorce. For deployed members of the military who are concerned that they will not be able to respond to the divorce petition, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows for a “stay” to be put in place to halt civil proceedings such as divorce and other family law cases. Usually, the stay is 90 days, but it can be extended.


Is it Hard to Divorce someone in the Military?

Answer: There certainly can be challenges, especially if the person you are looking to divorce is currently overseas or on a tour of duty. Among the most significant challenges occurs when a spouse is overseas and is served with a divorce petition. As discussed in the previous question, the deployed spouse may seek a stay to ensure that the divorce proceedings will be put on hold until they return home from duty.


Can the Military Help You Get a Divorce?

Answer: The military should not be considered a resource to assist you in getting a divorce. However, hiring a lawyer with experience in military divorce can undoubtedly help you get a divorce. Your attorney will be able to assist you in all matters related to your divorce.


How Long Does a Military Divorce Take?

Answer: This depends. If the spouse seeking the divorce serves their spouse while their spouse is on tour overseas, the divorce process may be prolonged, especially if the spouse abroad requests a stay. How long the divorce will take depends on other things, such as the case’s complexity.


How Is Divorce Different for Active-Duty Service Members?

Answer: Divorce differs for active-duty service members because, unlike civilians, people who are on active duty may not be able to respond to a divorce petition immediately, assuming they are the ones who are served. If an active-duty member is interested in seeking a divorce from their civilian spouse, this will also pose unique challenges, as they may have to wait for their tour of duty to end before they can pursue a divorce from their spouse. The situation becomes even more complex if both spouses are actively serving simultaneously.


What Will Happen to Our Children During Our Military Divorce?

Answer: Like civilian divorces, military divorces may involve determining custody and visitation agreements for a couple’s children. The court will consider the child’s best interests when making these decisions, considering factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, their physical and emotional well-being, and more. Furthermore, the divorcing parents may also have to determine how child support will be handled. Of course, the greatest challenge for children with parents divorcing in the military is the impact of deployments. The parent who is deployed may have limited contact with their children during this period, which can be emotionally challenging for both the parent and the child. Custody and visitation agreements may need to be adjusted to accommodate the deployment schedule.


Can a Divorced Spouse Get Military Benefits?

Answer: The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that provides protections and benefits to former spouses of military members. One significant provision of this law is the “20/20/20 rule.” Under this rule, a former spouse may be eligible for continued access to military healthcare, commissary, and exchange for privileges if they meet specific criteria. Specifically, the former spouse must have been married to the military member for at least 20 years, the military member must have served for at least 20 years, and there must have been at least a 20-year overlap between the marriage and the military service. The 20/20/20 rule is designed to ensure that former spouses who dedicated a significant portion of their lives supporting the military member are not left without essential benefits after the divorce.


What Is the 10/10/10 Rule in Military Divorce?

Answer: The 10/10/10 rule in military divorce refers to a provision under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA). It states that if a couple meets certain criteria, the former spouse may be entitled to a portion of the military member’s retirement pay. To qualify for this provision, the couple must have been married for at least ten years, during which time the military member must have performed at least ten years of credible military service. Additionally, there must be at least a 10-year overlap between the marriage and the military service. If these conditions are met, the former spouse may be eligible to receive direct payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for their share of the military member’s retirement pay.


Is Military Disability Divisible in Divorce?

Answer: No. Per federal law, VA benefits are not marital property and thus cannot be divided by the court in the event of a divorce.


Can a Military Spouse Keep Their ID and Privileges After the Divorce is Finalized?

Answer: If the former spouse has not remarried, and they meet the 20/20/20 rule, they may be able to retain their military ID card.

Contact Our Bexar County Military Divorce Attorneys

For straightforward advice on important family law issues that affect military service members, their spouses, and other family members, contact us today. Call 210-201-3832 to set up your initial consultation and get legal help with your case. We serve clients located in Texas and throughout the world.

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