Texas Military Family Lawyer

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Military Family Law Attorneys


Facing a military divorce in San Antonio? The unique blend of federal defense statutes and Texas family law can make a divorce complicated. A seasoned Military Divorce Lawyer from Graham Family Law in San Antonio is fundamental to steering through these intricacies to secure your interests.

At Graham Family Law, we understand the challenges that military divorces present, and our dedicated team has over 100 years of combined experience and is committed to providing you with the support and experience needed during this difficult time. Our military divorce lawyers are well-versed in navigating the intersection of federal defense statutes and Texas family law to ensure that your rights are protected and that the legal process is as smooth as possible for you.

If you are facing a military divorce in San Antonio, don’t navigate this alone. Graham Family Law is here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us today at 210-308-6448 for a confidential consultation and let us help you secure a positive outcome for your unique situation. Your peace of mind is our priority.

Understanding Military Divorce in San Antonio

In San Antonio, numerous military service members grapple with the prospect of divorce. Though the process may seem daunting, with the right assistance, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A San Antonio military divorce attorney such as Graham Family Law can help military personnel and their spouses understand and navigate these complexities.

Gaining a grasp of the jurisdiction and filing requirements is a crucial first step. It’s not as simple as filling in the county where you currently reside. The legal residence or domicile of the service member determines jurisdiction, not merely their physical presence. Additionally, some specific Texas residency requirements must be met. But that’s not all. There’s also the interplay of state laws and federal regulations to consider.

Jurisdiction and Filing Requirements

Specific jurisdictional rules govern military divorce proceedings in San Antonio. The legal residence or domicile of the service member typically determines jurisdiction, not merely their physical presence. This means that a service member stationed in San Antonio must have been there for at least six months and been in the county for at least 90 days to file for divorce in Texas, meeting the Texas residency requirement.

The District Court of the service member’s home residence county handles the military divorce filings in San Antonio. It’s noteworthy that service members can file divorce cases electronically in San Antonio, sidestepping the need for in-person presence. Even at the final divorce hearing, they can opt for representation by their attorney, negating the necessity for a physical appearance.

State Laws vs. Federal Regulations

Military divorce is influenced by both state laws and federal regulations. For instance, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) sets guidelines on various aspects, including the division of military pensions. Under this federal law, there is no automatic entitlement for a former spouse to a member’s military retired pay. Such entitlement must come from a state court order following criteria such as a marriage duration of at least 10 years during which the military member completed 10 years of service.

Another critical federal statute is the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which offers legal protections like preventing default judgments against active-duty military members.

Moreover, in Texas, service members or their spouses can file for divorce within the state if they meet the residency requirements, either through established civilian residency or by having Texas listed as their home of record, regardless of where they are currently stationed.

Key Issues in Military Divorces

Service member looking at a photo of their family.

Military divorces encompass a variety of critical issues that are influenced by an interplay of federal and state laws. These issues range from the division of assets to child custody arrangements and spousal support.

The asset division process can be intricate, chiefly due to the service member’s military obligations. Thus, spouses are often urged to negotiate the division as a time and cost-saving measure. Similarly, child custody arrangements must consider the service member’s potential deployments and military obligations, leading to negotiations and custody agreements.

When determining spousal support in military divorces, unique factors linked to the service member’s military service come into play. These factors introduce particular challenges in establishing fair levels of support.

Division of Military Pensions and Benefits

One of the significant aspects of asset division in military divorces is the division of military pensions and benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs this and allows for the division of military retirement pay as property during a divorce. Military retirement and property division also require consideration of additional special circumstances. These factors play a significant role in the overall decision-making process.

As per the USFSPA, eligibility for division of military pensions, health benefits, or base privileges generally adheres to the 20-20 rule. This rule stipulates an overlap of a 20-year marriage with 20 years of military service. To receive a portion of military retired pay, the non-military spouse must ensure the marriage lasted at least 10 years overlapping with 10 years of creditable military service.

Child Custody and Visitation for Military Families

Child custody and visitation are another crucial facet of military divorces. The Texas Family Code provides for the arrangement of child custody when a military parent is deployed, mobilized, or transferred for temporary duty at a significant distance from home. Service members are advised to prepare a family care plan that details who will care for their children during their absence due to deployment or relocation.

Under Texas law, there is a strong presumption in favor of granting joint custody, ensuring that children have regular contact with both parents after a military divorce. Additionally, military families in Texas may require creative custody arrangements, like allowing service members to spend their entire leave with their children on short notice.

Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal support or alimony is an area that needs delicate handling in military divorces. It can involve different types of alimony such as:

  • Temporary alimony for short-term needs during divorce
  • Permanent alimony for long-term income disparities
  • Rehabilitative alimony to assist a spouse in gaining skills for employment.

The amount and duration of spousal support in a military divorce are contingent on judicial discretion, taking into account what is fair and equitable. There is no established formula for calculation. However, enforcement of alimony payments can be pursued through wage garnishment or Involuntary Allotment via the Defense Finance and Accounting Services if a service member defaults on court-ordered spousal support.

The Role of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) in Military Divorces

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) holds a significant position in the context of military divorces. It guarantees vital protections for active-duty military personnel amidst legal proceedings, including divorces.

The SCRA enables service members to obtain a stay of court proceedings if their military duties materially affect their ability to participate in the legal process. Additionally, service members are safeguarded against default judgments during their absence due to active-duty commitments. As such, legal representatives from Graham Family Law play a crucial role in ensuring that service members are aware of and can effectively exercise their SCRA rights to protect their interests during divorce proceedings.

Stays of Proceedings

Stays of proceedings under the SCRA offer a much-needed reprieve for active-duty service members. They are entitled to request the court to halt proceedings for a minimum of ninety days if their military service impedes their ability to participate.

To secure a stay of proceedings, service members are required to submit written communication that outlines how their military duties affect their court attendance and proposes a potential date for their availability. The court has the discretion to grant extensions beyond the initial 90-day period when service members demonstrate a continuous inability to attend due to military obligations like deployment.

Preventing Default Judgments

The SCRA shields service members from the harmful consequences of default judgments while actively serving. To prevent a default judgment against a service member, it is required to file an affidavit stating the defendant’s military status, leading to the court appointing an attorney if the defendant is in the military and unable to represent themselves.

The SCRA empowers service members to contest and possibly invalidate a default judgment if it contravenes their SCRA protections, thus rendering these judgments potentially voidable. Moreover, service members have the right under the SCRA to request the reopening of a default judgment entered during their active duty or within the subsequent 90 days, with a possibility of having the judgment vacated.

Military Divorce Resources and Support

Military divorce is a tumultuous journey, but you’re not alone. There are numerous resources and support services available, from installation domestic abuse victim advocates to transitional compensation and the Installation Program Directory.

These resources provide invaluable help to military service members and their families. They offer a comprehensive guide to the support services available, legal support, counseling, and other resources for service members experiencing divorce. This support is crucial in making informed decisions during the divorce process and managing the emotional and mental stress associated with it.

Legal Assistance Offices

Legal Assistance Offices serve as a lifeline for service members embroiled in a military divorce. They provide essential legal help, covering family and domestic relations matters. These offices offer free information and advice on a range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • divorce
  • child custody
  • income tax considerations
  • the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • wills

While attorneys at Legal Assistance Offices are unable to represent clients in court, they provide valuable information and advice. This connection between Legal Assistance Offices and the need for referrals to civilian lawyers is crucial when service members face civil court proceedings or contested legal matters.

Military OneSource

Military OneSource is another helpful resource for service members navigating a military divorce. It provides a guide with comprehensive information on support services available for service members experiencing divorce. Legal support and counseling are available through Military OneSource to assist with making informed decisions during the divorce process, with personalized support tailored to individual circumstances.

It also offers non-medical counseling and health and wellness coaching to help service members and their spouses manage the emotional and mental stress associated with divorce. Furthermore, children and youth counseling services target the well-being of children affected by their parents’ military divorce, offering crucial support during this challenging transition.

How We Can Help: Graham Family Law’s Approach to Military Divorces

Service member father holding toddler.

At Graham Family Law in San Antonio, we comprehend the distinct challenges that military divorces pose. With over a century of combined experience in family law, our attorneys have a deep understanding of military divorce. We stand steadfast in safeguarding our client’s rights and pursuing a just and equitable resolution in their divorce proceedings.

In addition to military divorce, our services span a comprehensive suite of family law areas. We offer advice and guidance, adept negotiation, and staunch advocacy in all family law cases. Our services can include:

  • Divorce
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Adoption
  • Domestic violence
  • Paternity

We ensure our clients benefit from knowledgeable and informed representation.

Experienced Advice and Guidance

Our attorneys are endowed with a profound understanding of family law in San Antonio. We offer comprehensive advice and guidance throughout the military divorce process, including an understanding of state laws and the specific federal statutes and military regulations that may apply.

We value understanding each client’s specific situation and employ strategies that include being intimately familiar with judges and opposing counsel to accomplish client goals. We are 100% focused on divorce and family law, ensuring clients receive knowledgeable and informed representation.

Our caring and compassionate approach to client representation emphasizes a personal commitment in each case.

Skilled Negotiation and Aggressive Advocacy

We are committed to achieving amicable settlements through adept negotiation, advocating for client interests while mitigating conflict. Our commitment to our clients involves a balance between meaningful results and employing aggressive tactics when necessary to protect our clients’ interests.

However, when negotiations are unsuccessful, we are equipped and ready to aggressively advocate for our clients’ rights in the courtroom. Our reputation is built on a profound understanding of the family law system and extensive experience in litigating before the same judges who oversee military divorce cases.

Contact Us

If you find yourself amidst a military divorce in San Antonio, rest assured you need not traverse this arduous journey unaided. Call Graham Family Law at 210-308-6448 today for assistance. We promise honest, skilled, and diligent representation, prioritizing your rights and interests every step of the way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a military spouse entitled to in a divorce in Texas?

In a divorce in Texas, a military spouse is entitled to a fair division of community property, which includes assets acquired during the marriage. They may also be eligible for spousal support, known as alimony, depending on the circumstances of the divorce. Additionally, military benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, may be subject to division or distribution.

Can the military help you get a divorce?

The military itself does not grant divorces, but military personnel can seek legal assistance through the Judge Advocate General (JAG) office for advice on the process. However, the actual divorce is typically obtained through the civilian legal system.

What is the difference between a military divorce and a civilian divorce?

The main difference between a military divorce and a civilian divorce lies in the treatment of military benefits, such as pensions and healthcare. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs the division of military pensions, and military healthcare benefits may continue for the non-military spouse under certain conditions.

What rights does a military spouse have?

A military spouse has rights similar to a civilian spouse, including the right to a fair distribution of marital property, potential spousal support, and access to certain military benefits. The USFSPA plays a crucial role in protecting the rights of military spouses during divorce proceedings.


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