Houston Military Divorce Lawyer
Military divorce cases can often be confusing. If one or both spouses are on active duty, they might have difficulty filing their cases or getting to court, especially if they are overseas. There might also be increased challenges for asset division involving military benefits or child custody issues for parents on active duty.
For help with your military divorce case, call our Houston military divorce lawyers today. The Queenan Law Firm’s divorce attorneys can help husbands and wives file divorce cases whether they are in the military or married to someone in the military. We can also help you with the nuances of these kinds of cases. For your free legal consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
Residency Requirements for Filing a Military Divorce in Houston, TX
To file a divorce case in the State of Texas, at least one spouse must be a resident there. To file your case in Houston, that means that either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least the past 6 months, and you must have lived in Harris County for at least the past 90 days. If you are in the military and you are stationed somewhere in Harris County, that satisfies the residency requirement as long as you’ve been there for 90 days in the county and 6 months in Texas.
If your spouse is overseas or away on active duty, you can meet the residency requirement without them. This usually avoids questions of whether someone is really a resident where their home is or where they are serving.
Filing and Responding to Divorce Cases in Houston while Serving in the Military
If either spouse is away at boot camp, on base, or overseas, it will be difficult for them to file or respond to a divorce petition. In many cases, you can have a lawyer back home in Texas file your case and manage the paperwork and filings for you. Moreover, if you are away when your spouse files for divorce against you, you may find it difficult to manage the case.
Usually, if the respondent in a divorce case does not respond, a default judgement will be entered against them, and the court will go along with virtually whatever requests the petitioner made. However, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers some protection for active-duty servicemembers. The SCRA delays default judgments, giving the spouse in the military more time to respond to the case. However, the SCRA does not permanently delay the case, so it is important to contact a lawyer to handle the case promptly.
Child Custody and Support Issues in Military Divorces in Houston, TX
If you are in the military, then you might not have the time to see your children and play an active role in their day-to-day lives. This means that in many military divorces involving shared children, the court might be more likely to give custody to whichever spouse is not in the military.
In Texas, child custody has two parts: a conservatorship (often called “legal custody” in other states) and possession of the child (often called “physical custody” in other states). Parents with conservatorships both share the right to make decisions in their children’s lives about what religion they will practice, what school they will attend, what medical procedures they can undergo, and other important questions. Courts usually work to instate joint managing conservatorships (joint custody) when possible. However, if a parent is unavailable to spend time with their children living with them, they may have possession denied.
If you are planning on returning home and taking a local military job or a civilian job, you might have more time to spend with your children. This could change the court’s decisions about physical custody/possession and get you shared parenting time.
In any case where child custody is divided, child support is usually ordered. The parent with less or no parenting time is usually required to pay the other parent child support. These payments help defray the out-of-pocket expenses that the primary parent will pay when the children are home with them.
Asset Division and Pension Division for Military Divorces in Houston
In any divorce case, dividing the marital assets is an important part of the case. This will determine who gets what property, including a shared house, expensive household appliances, cars, sentimental items, and other property. Anything acquired during the marriage is “community property” that both spouses share. Typically, community property is split 50/50, but Texas assumes that this property should be divided fairly based on each party’s rights and who has custody of the shared children. Anything you acquired before the marriage is usually yours to keep.
When assets are divided in a military divorce, there are often issues regarding military pensions and other benefits. Instead of treating future pension benefits and other benefits as income, federal law allows states to treat this as property that the couple might share now. If the marriage lasted a certain amount of time and the servicemember was in the military long enough, a non-military spouse can often take their share of these benefits in the divorce. Talk to a lawyer about how these benefits will be divided – or if they will be divided at all – in your case.
Call Our Houston Armed Forces Divorce Attorney for a Free Case Consultation
If you are going through a divorce and either you or your spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, contact The Queenan Law Firm today. Our attorneys are available to schedule a free legal consultation so you can learn more about your potential military divorce case and get the case filed. If you are actively serving overseas, our Houston military divorce lawyers can work as much of your case as we can over the phone to help you with the case here in Texas. For your free case consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.