When a Texas couple with one or both members in the military divorces, special laws come into effect which are intended to safeguard both the custodial and non-custodial parent as well as any children from the marriage. The Pentagon says 50 percent of active-duty military and 70 percent of National Guard personnel are parents, making child support and issues of visitation and custody especially urgent. In addition, international law also bolsters state law and military regulations on these matters.
A military divorce imposes obligations on both parents that may not exist at all or exist in a less rigid format in civilian law. For example, a non-custodial military member can have child support deducted directly from their pay, and complaints against the member may be referred to his or her chain of command. The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act also prohibits initiation of divorce in most circumstances during a deployment or within 60 days after a member's return stateside.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance and Texas state law all play a distinct role in governing everything from child support, visitation and custody to spousal entitlement to military pension and retirement benefits. How much and what role each plays varies from case to case.
Military family law offers unique challenges for all parties involved. A family law attorney might begin divorce proceedings by analyzing the case holistically to determine to what degree each facet of the law might become involved. The attorney may request military service records and consider the history of the marriage to help determine how best to proceed. In some cases, the attorney could rely on military case law when structuring support and visitation proposals.