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Military Divorce: Unique Considerations in Plano, Texas

Military divorce can be a complex and daunting process, especially for couples living in Plano, Texas. Military members and their spouses face a unique set of challenges that require thorough consideration and planning before deciding to divorce. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of military divorce relevant to Texas, including federal laws governing military divorces, state laws specific to Texas, division of military benefits, child custody and support, and spousal support and alimony.

Understanding Military Divorce

Military divorce is different from civilian divorce in several ways. For instance, military members and their spouses may have to deal with the implications of military deployments, frequent relocation, and combat-related injuries. These factors can make the process of divorce more complicated and stressful. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced attorney who understands the unique aspects of military divorce and can guide you through the process.

Differences Between Military and Civilian Divorce

One of the main differences between military and civilian divorce is jurisdiction. Military divorces fall under federal jurisdiction, whereas civilian divorces are governed by state law. Additionally, military members and their spouses may have to address issues such as service of process, military pensions, and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) benefits that are unique to military divorce and not typically encountered in civilian divorce proceedings.

Federal Laws Governing Military Divorce

Federal laws such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) govern the division of military pensions and other benefits in military divorce cases. The USFSPA enables state courts to divide military retirement pay as marital property, and it provides guidelines for determining the amount of retired pay that can be awarded to the former spouse. Additionally, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects military members from certain legal actions, including divorce, while they are on active duty.

State Laws Specific to Texas

Texas family law addresses the specific issues that arise in military divorce cases such as child custody, child support, and spousal support. Texas laws provide for equitable division of property, spousal maintenance, and child support guidelines that consider military pay and allowances. It is essential to work with an attorney familiar with Texas laws governing military divorce.

Division of Military Benefits

One of the most critical aspects of military divorce is the division of military benefits. Military members and their spouses may have questions about how retirement pay, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) are divided. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of these benefits before making any decisions about the division of property.

Military Retirement Pay

Retirement pay is one of the most significant benefits that military members accrue during their service. Retirement pay is typically divided based on the length of marriage, and the portion that is marital property is subject to division. An attorney can help you navigate the complex rules associated with the division of military retirement pay.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)

The SBP is a benefit that pays survivors a portion of the military member's retirement pay in the event of their death. It is crucial to understand the impacts of divorce on SBP coverage and how it can affect the financial security of surviving family members.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The TSP is a critical retirement savings tool for military members, and like retirement pay and the SBP, it is subject to division in a divorce. It is essential to understand how the TSP fits into the division of assets, and to consider factors such as tax implications and penalties for early withdrawal.

Child Custody and Support

Military families face unique challenges concerning child custody and support. Frequent deployments and relocations can make it difficult to establish and maintain consistent parenting schedules. Military members and their spouses may also face difficulties in enforcing visitation rights and negotiating child support.

Determining Child Custody in Military Divorces

When determining child custody, Texas courts prioritize the best interests of the child. Military members and their spouses must consider how deployments and relocations may impact custody arrangements. It is essential to work with an attorney who understands the unique challenges military families face and who can help you develop a workable custody plan.

Child Support Guidelines for Military Members

The Texas Child Support Division provides guidelines for calculating child support based on income and other factors. Military pay and allowances are included in determining support obligations. An attorney can help you understand how child support is calculated and how military pay and benefits are accounted for.

Visitation Rights and Deployment

Deployments and frequent relocations can make it challenging to establish and maintain enforceable visitation rights. Texas law provides protections for military parents to ensure that they can maintain their relationships with their children while serving their country. It is important to work with an attorney to ensure that visitation rights are protected.

Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal support and alimony may be available to a military spouse following a divorce. The duration and amount of support depend on several factors, including the length of marriage, the income and earning potential of both parties, and the health and age of the spouses.

Factors Affecting Spousal Support in Military Divorces

In military divorces, factors such as deployments, frequent relocations, combat-related injuries, and retirement benefits may affect spousal support awards. An attorney can help you understand how these factors may affect your eligibility for spousal support and your ability to pay it.

Duration and Modification of Alimony

Texas courts consider several factors when determining the duration of spousal support awards. Additionally, alimony payments may be modified based on changes in the financial circumstances of either spouse. An attorney can help you understand the factors that may impact spousal support payments and your ability to seek modifications in the future.


Military divorce can be complex and stressful, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can navigate the process successfully. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations, develop a workable custody plan, and ensure that you receive a fair share of military benefits. If you are facing a military divorce in Plano, Texas, do not hesitate to contact a family law attorney who understands the unique challenges that military families face.

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