The divorce process for military members in Texas is not much different from other people in the state, but there are federal regulations that can make military divorce a bit more complicated. For many service members and their ex-spouses, the division of military benefits will take center stage in a divorce.
Military benefit division
Texas is one of nine community property states in the United States. All assets and debts that couples accumulate become subject to 50-50 division in a divorce.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act sets forth military family law that allows Texas divorce courts to treat retirement pay from a military spouse as divisible property. However, federal regulations require 10 years of service before this rule becomes applicable. Additionally, the 10 years of service must overlap with 10 years of a marital union for the divorcing couple.
How an ex-spouse can qualify for benefits
An ex-spouse becomes eligible for some portion of the other spouse’s retirement pay once they prove the necessary 10-year overlap between marriage and military service. A spouse qualifies for half of this retirement pay once the length of marriage reaches 15 years. Marriages that last 15 years also make the ex-spouse eligible for a year of medical care after divorce.
An ex-spouse ending a marriage of 20 years or more is eligible for half of the military spouse’s retirement pay, medical care until they remarry and on-base privileges. It is important to note that no service member will need to give up more than 50% of their benefits pay as part of a divorce. This cap is extended to 65% if child support payments become applicable.
Divorce is no easy task for anyone who becomes involved in the process. Divorces that involve one or more military members can bring added complications to the situation. A family law attorney may be able to help a divorcee navigate the military divorce process smoothly.