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.
Military couples in Texas who are separating and considering a divorce need to keep certain things in mind since divorces involving members of the military are somewhat different than those of civilians due to their lifestyle. From custody of the children to spousal support to retirement benefits and life insurance policies, military divorces are unique and can become confusing.
In most cases a military divorce in Texas is not much different than a divorce between two civilians. Most differences arise from the state residency status of a service member on active duty or the state residency status of their spouse. Divorcing military couples can sometimes choose from more than one state in which to file for divorce. In some cases, different means of determining the length of a marriage can affect how division of assets are administered.
Most people who live in Texas do not need to think about which state in which to file for a divorce. Because they live in the state, they file for divorce there. However, members of the armed forces and their spouses may have the option of filing for divorce because their situation often results in changes in residency. Choosing the state for a divorce is an important decision because the laws vary and may provide different benefits to those involved in the action.
Many families in Texas may be interested in the effects of a military career on family life. The Rand Corporation recently issued results of a study that ties time spent in combat to the likelihood of military divorce. Many people already know that participating in combat ends up being hard on a marriage. The Rand Corporation study provides some numbers to back up this general observation.
The U. S. Supreme Court is not the normal venue for hearing cases involving custody battles, but a military family law attorney and client are appearing before the nation's highest court to request that a child be brought back from overseas and the venue of a custody case be changed to Alabama. The Army Sergeant First Class who initiated the case was married to a woman with United Kingdom citizenship. When their daughter was born in Germany several years ago, the child was granted dual citizenship with the United States and the United Kingdom. The father left to go to Afghanistan and the mother traveled home to Scotland. On the father's return from combat duty, the husband, wife and child moved to Alabama. However, the reunion was short-lived.
Too many newly-divorced service members trying to reassemble their lives are leaving Uncle Sam's gifts on the table. Take the Air Force, for example. Too many airmen wait too long to secure benefits for their dependents, including dependents who were born out of wedlock or are children of divorce. Dependent children are entitled to benefits even if they live with a non-military parent, and in some cases the former spouse is also eligible for military benefits.
One of the most valuable benefits for armed forces veterans is the retirement pay, and it could be the most important marital asset. It's vital that divorcing military couples take into account the nature of the benefits and the way courts approach them. It's not the same in every state.
Deployment, transfers, and long stretches away from loved ones are part and parcel of military service. Families usually follow the service member to their new posting, dutifully if not enthusiastically. But what happens when the family is made up of two same-sex partners? Bringing a same-sex partner to a new posting overseas is sometimes impossible because of local laws. One columnist says the military is using those laws and the Defense of Marriage Act to deliberately split up gay couples.