San Antonio Military Divorce Attorneys
Military divorces are subject to greater scrutiny and regulation than their civilian counterparts. While regular divorce only falls under the state’s jurisdiction, a military divorce will be looked at by both state and federal courts. There are special rules and requirements that make a military divorce a substantially different experience than a non-military one. For example, one may have to travel back to their home of record for a court to be able to grant a divorce, while civilians can just travel to the court where they live. To this end, the effect such a divorce has on one’s life also varies from those going through a traditional divorce, and can also introduce overwhelming stress and hardship.
At Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., we understand important and highly specific factors are involved in military divorces. An example of one of these factors is how military pensions or base reassignments play into such the divorce discussions. A smooth transition into your new life requires professional and knowledgeable legal representation, and you’d benefit from Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. attorneys’ experience with military personnel. Do not enter divorce proceedings unprepared—hire a San Antonio military divorce lawyer today. Contact us at (210) 349-9933 to get the legal assistance you need.
Military Divorce – The Details
The benefits that members of the Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Army receive often represent a crucial part of all military divorce cases. Whether resolving issues related to GI Bill benefits, military pensions, or military health insurance, proper legal representation is absolutely necessary to defend your rights. At the Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., we handle a range of military divorce benefits, including but not limited to:
- Military Retirement Division – During the divorce proceedings, it is important to talk about pensions and how they will be will be handled, even if neither of the individuals involved is close to retirement age. You should discuss the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, regardless of which side of the table you are on.
- Military Custody Issues – Custody issues are always a complex matter, and they are often even more complex when base reassignments or deployment must be considered. Make sure to hire a legal team that understands the particular requirements when it comes to military service and custody resolution.
Without professional legal support, you may lose your home or ability to support your family because of your divorce. Divorce proceedings are naturally emotional and volatile cases and, in this aspect especially, military divorce is no different. While dealing with the emotional toll a divorce takes on you personally, let the attorneys at the Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. take care of the legal details.
Military Divorce – The Details
In a divorce where one or two spouses are in the military, a service member’s pension may be divided among the individuals involved. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) provides a federal statute for the military and guides them to accept state statutes on addressing issues such as military retirement pension, child support and spousal support. Military couples should be knowledgeable about the role of USFSPA. For example, the USFSPA permits the states to classify military retired pay as property, rather than as income. Furthermore, it allows for up to 50% of the benefits to go to the service member’s spouse. Even if retirement is not in one or both spouse’s immediate future, military pension needs to be discussed while in a divorce proceeding.
Additionally, the USFSPA does not automatically entitle a former spouse to a portion of the member’s retired pay. The former spouse must have been awarded a portion of that member’s military retired pay as property in their final divorce order. Also, for orders that are dividing retired pay as property to be enforced under the USFSPA, a member and former spouse need to have been married to each other for 10 years or more, during which the member performed at least 10 years of military service creditable toward retirement eligibility (10/10 rule).
The amount of military pension that is divided upon is based on a formula that may be expressed in dollars or as a percentage of the member’s retirement pay. Courts are not required to divide military pay, so it is especially important to contact a qualified attorney lawyer to discuss the essential details of your divorce as soon as possible. At Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P., our San Antonio military retirement division attorneys will work hard to help you get the outcome that you deserve, with the least amount of difficulty in your life. Please call our San Antonio office at (210) 349-9933 to discuss your case today.
The rules of child custody can be very complex, especially when one or more parent is in the military. When the court must also consider potential deployments or base reassignments, the process can be tedious when considering many hypothetical situations. Our team at Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. can lead you through these uncertainties in child custody, while maintaining the best interests of the child and your custody concerns.
In any situation where both parents are military members or if a military parent has sole custody, a ‘family care plan’ is required. This plan is to determine what will happen to the child or children of military members in the case of deployment. The family care plans must include a short-term caretaker, a long-term caretaker and care provision details. The short-term caretaker is someone you trust to care for your child if you are gone for less than 30 days, while a long-term caretaker would be required for any military deployment of longer than 30 days. The care provision details would refer to the general instructions on how to specifically care for the child or children. A military divorce attorney can be of great assistance if you are in the process of creating a family care plan. This plan is a legal document that determines the type of care for the child, in the event of deployment of one or both parents.
According to an April 2017 article on Military.com, about 2.6 percent of married male troops divorced last year, remaining unchanged since 2013, while the rate among female service members climbed from 6.2 percent in 2015 to 6.6 percent in 2016. The largest changes were in the female enlisted troops, traditionally showing rates more than double of the male enlisted troops. For instance, 2.8 of male enlisted soldiers divorced over 2016, compared to 8 percent of female enlisted soldiers. Further, the Marine Corps showed an overall divorce increase in 2016, with male Marines showing a jump from 2.3 percent to 2.8 percent. The female Marines showed a 6.4 percent to 7.7 percent. According to Benjamin Karney, a researcher with RAND Corp. who has studied military divorce, this could demonstrate outside pressures upon marriages in the Marine Corps, for both the male and female troops. With the stress of deployments and being away from spouses, military families are unique in their struggles to maintain a family unit.
Furthermore, according to the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) website page dated April 2017, over the last decade, legislation addressing issues facing military parents has become a national trend. There are a growing number of custody and visitation issues among military families, and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) to allow states to adopt a procedure for courts to use when faced with this situation. Most states have some statutory provision that addresses custody and visitation rights of military parents. However, with increases in deployment of the military over the last decade, there has been an increase in custody and visitation issues involving military parents. It is important to note that while some states have statutes and rules dealing with deployed parent custody and visitation issues, there are some gaps in protections for military parents involved in custody and visitation proceedings. For detailed information on the UDPCVA, it is important to consult a trained attorney who can advise you in these matters.
In a U.S. Supreme Court decision on May 15, 2017, the court ruled that state courts cannot order veterans to pay divorced spouses for the loss of his or her retirement pay caused by service-related disability benefits. The ruling on Howell v. Howell clarified that disability pay is not divisible as community property. As you can see, laws are changing and it takes the knowledge and skill of a licensed attorney to assist in these types of military divorce proceedings.
Contact a San Antonio Military Divorce Attorney Today
When considering divorce, the attorneys at the Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. are in a strong position to guide you through each step of the process. Contact a San Antonio Military Divorce attorney at the Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. today by calling (210) 349-9933 and speaking with an expert legal representative with years of experience handling military divorce cases. When embarking on the arduous and painful divorce process, protect yourself by hiring a trained legal representative.