San Antonio Military Divorce Attorneys
Guiding South Texas families and servicemembers through divorce
The military lifestyle is challenging for many families. Frequent and long periods of time apart take a toll on many marriages. Many military personnel are subjected to high-stress situations in the course of their service to the United States in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or other military forces. Spouses who hold down the fort must learn to alternate between functioning like single parents and parenting in partnership with their spouses when they are home.
Financial strains may exacerbate challenges that many soldiers, sailors and other members of the armed forces experience. All these stressors can strain a marriage to the point of divorce. At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our lawyers are proud to represent military members and their families who need assistance with divorce and other family law concerns.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"Davis was great! Made my divorce easy to deal with! He was quick and efficient with everything. They are also affordable. If you are going through a divorce, I really recommend Davis Morrow here. He'll make sure everything is done quick and easy." – Mohommad H.
"I have had the pleasure of working with Matthew Grimshaw for almost 6 months and throughout my representation he has been honest, compassionate, and has listened very intently to what I want as a client. I am so happy and fortunate to have peace of mind knowing, I will not be taken advantage of from a legal stand point. I would not only highly recommend this firm to anyone but have full confidence in this legal team for recognizing what’s in my best interests even at times when I couldn’t do so for myself." – Marcus V.
How can your attorneys help with my military divorce?
Military divorce differs slightly from civilian divorce. Branches of the armed forces have their own divorce laws. Petition deadlines may be longer than in the civilian world. Division of assets, including military pensions, has specific rules. Because of this, it is important for military families to partner with an attorney who understands this unique area of law.
At Grable Grimshaw, we have successfully navigated multiple military divorces, and our attorneys have ties to the military themselves. We understand the challenges of the military lifestyle, know what you are going through, and how to help you meet your goals.
Why is military divorce different?
Because the federal government understands the difficulties servicemembers and their families face with certain family law and divorce matters, they enacted several laws to make things easier. Some of these include:
- The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Enacted in 2003, the SCRA provides benefits and protections to active-duty servicemembers. In part, servicemembers cannot be held in contempt or otherwise penalized if divorce, child support, or alimony judgements are brought against them while they are unreachable on deployment.
- The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Although Texas law presides over property and asset division in a divorce, the USFSPA protects a former military spouse’s rights to a servicemember’s retirement pay. These benefits depend on the length of the marriage and how many of those years overlapped with active service.
- The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The Texas UCCJEA is not specifically designed for servicemembers, but does help determine which state has jurisdiction in a child custody This can be beneficial for military families, who tend to move often and when child custody orders can become confusing.
Our Texas military divorce lawyers can answer all of your questions about any special requirements for your family’s particular circumstances.
How do I serve divorce papers on my deployed spouse?
Getting a divorce while your spouse is overseas or deployed can be difficult, but not impossible. Starting the process now can help ensure a more timely divorce, although a variety of factors can affect the timeline. In both civilian and military divorces, one spouse files a petition for divorce and another party serves the other spouse with legal documents.
However, with an active-duty servicemember, legal documents must be served in person – no matter where they are – and your spouse must acknowledge receipt of these documents. In some cases, this may be impossible due to the nature of military work. Upon return from deployment, servicemembers are allowed a stay of up to 90 days under the SCRA before resuming their case, as long as they notify the court.
Servicemembers may also waive these protections and requirements if the divorce is uncontested and the spouses agree on all terms of the divorce. The San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw advise speaking to a member of our team for guidance.
Will I lose my military housing after my divorce?
The U.S. government only allows servicemembers to reside in on-base or subsidized housing. They do, however, prohibit a servicemember from evicting their spouse or children during a dispute, separation or impending divorce. Government officials may require you to move upon your divorce’s finalization.
As a civilian spouse, you may feel anxious that your housing, health insurance, and other benefits upon which you rely are on the line now that you’re preparing to divorce. Our San Antonio military divorce attorneys can walk you through what to expect so you can make future plans feeling confident and secure.
Does my spouse have a right to my military pension in the divorce?
In a traditional divorce, you and your spouse have the right to split assets in an equitable manner, or in any way you negotiate. However, the USFSPA allows Texas military spouses certain retirement benefits in a divorce. Once a couple is married 10 years, with 10 overlapping years of military service, a spouse is eligible for a portion of the servicemember’s retirement pay. This is called the 10/10 rule, and the portion increases as the length of the marriage increases. Our legal team is happy to explain this in further detail.
How does child custody work when I’m in the military?
Members of the military usually count on a civilian spouse or other family member to care for their children if they face a deployment. If you’re married to a civilian but have decided that the union isn’t working, you have several things to think about. One of these is setting up a new family care plan.
A common misconception is that because you’re active duty that you can’t have custody of your children. It will take more planning than civilian families, but it is completely possible to have full, shared or joint custody of your children while you serve your country.
Because of your military commitments, you’ll need to establish a family care plan and have it on file with your commanding officer. This plan outlines what will happen with your children when you have a long-term or short-term deployment.
Consider establishing a special power of attorney that assigns a guardian for your child. Some plans require two guardians. You need one who lives close to your duty station, so they can get the kids in an emergency. If that person isn’t the individual will care for the children when you go on a long-term deployment, you need to name the long-term guardian, too.
More than likely, your ex-spouse will be the long-term guardian if the kids are also their children. In this case, you should still have a short-term guardian, unless your co-parent lives close to where you’re serving. Working closely with an experienced military divorce attorney can help protect your interests throughout the process.
Let our San Antonio attorneys address your military divorce needs
Here at Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our experienced lawyers are here to assist with all family law matters affecting military families; including adoption, paternity actions, grandparent custody situations, modifications, and enforcement of court orders. We’re proud to help our military personnel throughout San Antonio and South Texas. Contact us today to set up a consultation by calling 210-963-5297 or filling out our contact form.