Fort Worth Military Divorce Lawyer
Getting divorced while either you or your spouse is actively serving in the military can add some complications to your divorce case. If one spouse is overseas or away on duty, it might be difficult to get them into a courtroom to proceed with the case. Moreover, some military benefits are divided differently than other payments and income. Lastly, there might be complex issues dealing with asset division, alimony, and child custody in any divorce case.
For help with your military divorce case, contact the Fort Worth military divorce lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm. Our attorneys represent husbands and wives who serve or served in the military, and we represent spouses of servicemembers. We fight to get our clients the terms they want in their divorce. Call our law offices today at (817) 476-1797 to schedule a free case consultation.
Residency Requirements for Military Divorces in Fort Worth, TX
To file a divorce case in Texas, at least one of the spouses needs to be a resident of the State of Texas for the past 6 months and a resident of the county they will file in for the past 90 days. Military families notoriously move around a lot, so you may need to wait to file your divorce case in Fort Worth.
Note that this residency requirement is necessary for only one spouse. A spouse who is overseas might question if they qualify as a resident of Texas or a resident of Tarrant County if they have not been home in the past 6 months or the past 90 days. Since only one spouse needs to be a resident, you can still file for divorce in Fort Worth if your spouse is back home in Tarrant County.
If you are on a military base in the Fort Worth area, Texas Family Code § 6.304 says you would also meet Texas’ residency requirements if you’ve been there for the past 6 months and in that county for the past 90 days. This usually means you can file your case in Texas, even if your spouse lives somewhere else.
How to File for Divorce in Fort Worth, TX if One Spouse is Overseas in the Military
Lawsuits and court cases involving active servicemembers usually have long delays and odd timelines. If one spouse is overseas serving their country, the court cannot rightly move ahead with the case without them. To protect servicemembers, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was passed. One of the things that this statute does is protect active members of the military from default judgments. This means that if the spouse who is overseas or on active duty cannot respond to a court summons, the court must wait a certain amount of time before entering a default judgement against them. However, the SCRA does not stall the case forever, so it is important to contact a lawyer and have them represent you in court.
Asset Division During Military Divorces in Fort Worth
Asset division is an important part of any divorce case. In many cases, the spouses will have a difficult time determining who should get what property. Texas is a community property state, which means that everything the couple acquires during the life of the marriage is shared by both of parties. When they get divorced, they will have to split these assets. Usually, community property states split everything 50/50, but Texas Family Code § 7.001 says that the split should be “just and right” based on each party’s rights and who has custody of shared children.
Military couples often have to divide pensions and retirement benefits in their divorces. While some of these things might usually look like income, federal law classifies some of these benefits as property instead, so that they are divided differently than other income and benefits. In many cases, these benefits do not become subject to division until the couple has been married for a certain length of time and the servicemember has been serving for a certain length of time. Talk to a military divorce lawyer about how this works in your case.
Child Custody and Child Support for Military Divorces in Fort Worth
If you have shared children with your spouse, then the court will usually need to determine child support and custody issues as part of your military divorce case. In Texas, child custody is known as a “conservatorship.”
Typically, courts aim to give joint custody (a “joint managing conservatorship”). However, when one spouse is overseas and unable to take care of children at home, they might not get physical custody – what Texas calls “possession” of the child. This means that they will still have legal custody (a conservatorship) so that they can make decisions about their child’s upbringing – such as what religion the child practices, what school they go to, and whether they can undergo certain medical procedures. However, they will not have the right to have the children live with them if they are on deployment.
If you are planning on leaving the military so that you can spend more time with your children, the court will be able to consider you as a candidate for child custody and possession. This means the court might decide to split parenting time and give each parent adequate time with their shared children.
Courts will also usually make the parent who has less parenting time – or no parenting time – pay child support. These funds are used to share the costs that the custodial parent pays out of pocket while the child lives with them.
Talk to a lawyer about how child custody and support issues are decided for military families.
Call Our Fort Worth Military Divorce Lawyers Today for a Free Case Consultation
If you or your spouse is an active-duty servicemember, your divorce case will usually need help from a civilian divorce attorney. Our Fort Worth military divorce attorneys represent members of the armed forces or their spouses in divorce cases and work to help our clients with issues dealing with asset division, case management, child custody, alimony, child support, and other divorce issues. Call The Queenan Law Firm today to set up a free legal consultation – which we can do over the phone if you are on active duty. Call us at (817) 476-1797.