From a legal standpoint, individuals in the military who are getting divorced will have to undergo the same process as civilians. However, there are some factors that can affect the time it takes to finalize your divorce. As a Texas resident, here are some family law details you should know if you’re a member of the Armed Forces and planning to end your marriage.
What makes military divorce different?
The family law process for getting a military divorce often takes longer if one or more parties is on active duty or is permanently stationed overseas. In some states, the residency requirement is relaxed for active-duty military personnel who want to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed.
While it’s important to understand the divorce process, military couples should also be aware of the role the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) will have on their divorce. This act provides federal regulations for the military and guides the military in accepting state regulations for divorce issues such as spousal support, child support, and military retirement pay/pension.
Military retirement pay and divorce
Your family law attorney should also explain post-divorce payments to you. Retirement payments are made through DFAS or the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. The ex-spouse has to have been married to the military service member for at least a decade and this time period must overlap with 10 years of military service.
For instance, if you were married for 15 years and one spouse was in the Armed Forces for 8 of those 15 years, the other spouse will not receive payments from DFAS. However, if you were married for 15 years and your spouse was in the military for 12 years, you’ll be eligible for DFAS payments.